UofM to Honor Student Veterans for Academic Achievements, Service at Inaugural Clement Santi Awards Ceremony

November 9, 2023 — This Veterans Day, University of Memphis student veterans will be honored for their service and dedication to their education at the inaugural Clement Santi Courage Awards and Veterans Recognition Ceremony taking place at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10.

Attendees will hear from Chris Bourque, coordinator for Veterans and Military Student Services, and Tina Pendergrast Santi Flaherty, daughter of the late Clement Santi, whom the Courage award is named after. A Memphis State alumna, she is also an accomplished author and successful corporate executive.

The University of Memphis has been consistently honored for the support it offers to student veterans and alumni. For eight consecutive years, the UofM has been honored as a top Military Friendly School.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude for our student veterans’ unwavering service and academic excellence, a true testament to their extraordinary dedication,” said Kimberly Grantham, interim vice president for University Advancement. “Each is an example of resilience in both earning a degree and defending our nation. This ceremony honors their ability to balance academic pursuits with safeguarding our freedoms.”

Student veterans will be honored with military stoles and cords at the reception. In conjunction with the veteran recognition, Santi Flaherty will present the Clement Santi Courage Scholarship and Book Awards to active-duty and veteran students who have displayed honor, courage and commitment during their service. Santi Flaherty established the Clement Santi Courage Awards in honor of her father to assist these students as they achieve their academic and career goals.

Clement Santi, who arrived at Ellis Island in 1913, exemplified courage as he pursued the American dream. He fought in World War I and was known among the troops to be an amazing cook. While that wasn’t his assignment, he took on the role and was able to keep his regiment going even as they ran out of food, taking incredible risks to make sure they survived.

His courage that was evident in the throes of war became a recurring theme in his life. Years later, his wife died in an automobile accident. In the face of such adversity Santi showed great courage and resilience to carry on for his children’s sake, helping to develop the Weona supermarket chain in Memphis and later, the Santi Ice Cream Factory, also in Memphis.

Courage was a trait he passed down to his children. One of Clement Santi’s daughters, Tina Santi Flaherty, graduated from Memphis State and went on to become the first female corporate vice president of three U.S. companies: Colgate-Palmolive, Grey Advertising and GTE Corp., now Verizon Communications.

The Clement Santi Courage Award is dedicated to those in the military whose courage, perseverance amid adversity, and resilience allow them to continue the legacy of Santi Clement so that his example may live on in them.

The UofM's military-friendly features include a Veterans and Military Student Services Center that assists veterans and military service members with the transition from a military environment to a positive academic community that supports their success on campus; a wide range of online courses and degree programs through UofM Global; participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program; seamless transfer of credits from community colleges; and three ROTC programs–Army, Navy and Air Force. Additionally, the Memphis area is home to Naval Support Activity Mid-South and its strong military community.

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NOTE: Friday’s ceremony will take place at 350 University Center in the Fountain View Room. The scholarship awards ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. after light refreshments. Parking is available in the Zach Curlin Garage.


Jennifer Godwin

Director of Media and Public Relations


901.678.4822 or 501.529.7482

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