This afternoon, Minnesota State University hosted a veterans lunch to honor the men and women who have served our country. 

Patriotism filled the ballroom inside MSU's Centennial Student Union as reserve, active duty, retired veterans and their families gathered for a special ceremony.

On the eve of Veterans Day, the university presented a lunch to its military students and faculty to honor their commitment and affirm the school's commitment to creating an environment that supports their education.

Friday's decorated guest speaker happens to be the first woman to serve as Brigadier General of the Minnesota Army National Guard, who encourages both men and women to power through toward their goal.

Minnesota Army National Guard Brigadier General Johanna Clyborne said "Lean in, take a seat at the table, do not let adjectives define you. Raise your hand and dream the possible dream."

Nearly 1,000 students are using the benefits of the GI Bill to further their education and nearly half of scholars balancing service and school are earning a GPA of 3.0 or higher, an achievement that the university recognizes and hopes to continue.

MSU Veteran Liaison Sandra King said "We strive to go beyond those words and ensure our policies and practices embody our thanks for your service and sacrifice and really represent a veteran–friendly campus."

MSU President Richard Davenport said "We acknowledge your commitment to the freedom of our country and we credit you with what we do, to provide a safe environment for all of us."

After the ceremony, the youngest service member in the crowd was chosen, as with tradition, to assist in cutting the cake with the three event speakers.

Two students were also awarded certificates for their service to the veterans community at MSU.

- KEYC 12