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David Rohall: Distinguished Faculty Lecture March 26 in Macomb, WIU-QC April 1
January 29, 2014
MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University's 2014 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, David Rohall, will address the ways sociologists study the military in society and discuss his research about the impact of military service on soldiers and their families. Rohall, a professor in the WIU Department of Sociology and Anthropology, will present, "Peach Blossoms in a Post-Military World: Working with Iraq-Era Student-Veterans" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 26 in the College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) Recital Hall on the WIU-Macomb campus. For the WIU-Quad Cities campus, Rohall will present his lecture at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 1 at the 60th Street Campus, room 102.
The United States military is finishing more than a decade of warfare in the Middle East, one of the longest periods of protracted warfare in American history, Rohall noted.
"Thousands of soldiers have left or are preparing to leave the services and start new lives in the U.S. Most of these soldiers are enlisted men and women with high school degrees, and many of them are utilizing educational benefits from military service as a means of paying for college," he explained. "Unfortunately, as many as 40 percent of these soldiers have, or will experience, some form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and military suicides continue to be a problem."
Rohall said organizations such as the Peach Blossoms have been formed to help student veterans after they leave military service.
"'Peach Blossoms' is the informal name of Western Illinois University's Veterans Club. Like many other such groups on college campuses across the nation, they help student-veterans adjust to college life after their time in service," he said. "What do we know about these veteran-students? Are colleges and universities around the country ready to incorporate them? The goal of this lecture is to provide an overview of what we know about returning student-veterans and the role of higher education in supporting the troops."
Rohall is a Marine Corps veteran of the Persian Gulf War and has studied the military for more than 15 years. He has published and presented dozens of articles about military service, and he served as the chair of the Peace, War, and Social Conflict section of the American Sociological Association in 2011-12. He currently serves on the advisory council for the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society, an international organization of academics, military officers, researchers and students representing a variety of private and public institutions and various academic disciplines.
Rohall's research has led to numerous awards, including the 2007 Charles H. Coates Commemorative Award from the University of Maryland, College Park, Department of Sociology, and in 2009, the Thomas J. Hawkins Visiting Scholar Award from the United States Military Academy (West Point). He received the WIU Provost's Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative/Performative/Professional Activities in 2010.
Rohall earned his doctorate and master's degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park, and his bachelor's degree from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. He resides in Macomb with his wife, Molly, and his sons and daughters, Michael, Jeremiah, Virginia and Urlene.