Outstanding Female and Male Student Veterans Honored

Loria McGruder and Henderson Tyrrell, psychology majors at Rutgers University–Camden, have been named outstanding female and male student veterans for the 2014-2015 academic year.

The students were formally recognized and presented plaques acknowledging their achievements at Rutgers–Camden’s sixth annual veterans day luncheon, held on Nov. 6.

“It is an honor to receive such a prestigious award,” says McGruder, a Clementon resident.

Tyrrell echoed the sentiment, noting that it was “inspiring” to be recognized by his fellow student veterans as a dedicated student and a contributing member of the student veterans group on campus. “I hope to live up to the honor and help the student veterans and Rutgers–Camden as much as possible,” says the Riverton resident.


Loria McGruder

A native of Charleston, Mo., McGruder served from 1987 to 1991 as a security specialist and military police officer in the Air Force, attaining the rank of specialist/E4. She served at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Mont., and subsequently at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, where she was responsible for guarding nuclear weapons and entry control points for the flight line, and securing top-secret areas.

McGruder previously studied psychology at Southern Illinois University and Temple University before continuing her education at Rutgers–Camden. From her first days at Rutgers, she was drawn to the campus’ friendly, inviting atmosphere for older, non-traditional students.

“I received a warm welcome and a lot of help,” recalls McGruder. “Fred Davis (director of the Office of Veterans Affairs at Rutgers–Camden) guided me through the entire process, ensuring that I made a smooth transition.”

McGruder currently maintains a 3.982 grade-point average, which she credits to her appetite for knowledge. “Learning is not work for me; it’s a habit,” says McGruder, who is also minoring in criminal justice. “I feel that the more knowledge you have, the more powerful you are.”

In addition to her studies, McGruder serves as the media officer for the student veterans group at Rutgers–Camden, responsible for public relations and advertisements. She is also a life coach and mentors inmates at the Albert M. “Bo” Robinson Assessment and Treatment Center in Trenton.

“Loria is an outstanding representation of our student veteran population at Rutgers–Camden,” says Davis. “She excels in every endeavor she undertakes.”

The proud mother of three children, Lawrence Richard, Logan, and Kia, McGruder dreams of earning a Ph.D. in psychology and publishing her autobiography, titled Journey to Oneness. As she explains, the work chronicles her path to success, overcoming “necessary obstacles and divine disappointments to return to my original point: myself.”

Henderson Tyrrell

Henderson Tyrrell

A native of Willingboro, Tyrrell served from 1982 to 1985 as an infantryman and military police officer with 95 Bravo 10 company in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of specialist/E4. After completing basic training at Fort McClennan in Alabama, he was stationed at Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg, Germany, the headquarters for Central Army Group Europe and U.S. Army Europe. He was responsible for installation security and protecting high-ranking U.S. and European officers. “We learned to salute anyone with brass on their shoulders,” recalls Henderson, who subsequently served at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

Following his military service, Tyrrell earned an associate’s degree in science from Burlington County College in 1995. He enrolled at Rutgers–Camden in spring 2013, taking advantage of his benefits afforded under the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program.

It wasn’t long before Tyrrell began dedicating his time and efforts to the student veterans group on campus, earning the admiration and respect of administrators and his peers. “Henderson has always conducted himself unselfishly, with loyalty as well as unwavering dedication to the student veterans at the campus,” says Davis. “The devotion that Henderson displays while participating in various events with my office, as well as the student veterans at Rutgers–Camden reflects the dedication and duty within him.”

Upon graduating, Tyrrell has aspirations of pursuing a master’s degree in psychology. His ultimate goal is to one day work for the U.S. Office of Veterans Affairs, assisting veterans who are returning to civilian life, including those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“It’s a way that I can give back to the military that gave so much to me,” says Tyrrell, who is also a current recipient of the Jeremy Kane Scholarship. Kane was killed by a suicide bomb attack while on patrol in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan in January 2010. The 22-year-old was a lance corporal in the United States Marine Corps and was a criminal justice major at Rutgers–Camden.

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