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Harold Patrick and President George E. Ross

Honoring a lifetime of service

CMU president honors ROTC alum who paid his opportunities forward

Contact: ​Jeff Johnston

​Retired U.S. Army colonel and 1957 CMU alum Harold Patrick has always attributed his success to education.

"The Central Michigan University experience was the platform by which my dad built his life," said his daughter, Kim Patrick.

Harold Patrick was commissioned to the U.S. Army with the 1957 CMU Reserve Officers Training Corps class. In 26 years of Army service, he completed two tours in Vietnam. He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone and twice awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptional peacetime service.

A lifelong believer in education, Patrick endowed his own scholarship program at CMU in 2006. The Col. Harold L. Patrick Scholarship Fund helps provide opportunities for Michigan high school students to attend college. 

 "My dad is a quiet hero, humble patriot, dedicated husband, loving father, involved citizen, selfless philanthropist and, above all, an exceptional role model," Kim said.

"You have made your mark on the world in countless ways, distinguishing yourself as a soldier and a pillar of your community" — President George E. Ross

To help celebrate his lifetime of achievements, CMU President George E. Ross joined the Patrick family on Feb. 2 in Falls Church, Virginia, to present him with a plaque commemorating his induction into the CMU ROTC Hall of Fame and a shadowbox — made by his daughter — holding his Army uniform and service ribbons.

"I have said many times that at CMU, we graduate leaders," Ross said during the ceremony. "Col. Patrick, you are a perfect example of how we always have."

Growth from small-town roots

As the eldest of 10 children growing up in the small town of Mancelona, Michigan, Patrick worked hard to help his mother care for his siblings while his father, a truck driver, was on the road working. With the help of financial aid, he became the only child in his family to attend college, CMU, where he played baseball, worked in campus chemistry labs and joined ROTC.

"He realized what others did for him, he must do for others. Therefore, he set up an endowment scholarship of his own, not only to pay it back but to pay it forward," Kim said. "This ceremony provided me an opportunity to celebrate his works and formally acknowledge the impact he made on our family, country, citizens and students."

Patrick retired from the Army in 1985 and worked as a U.S. Air Force contractor for civilian companies for another 27 years. Kim hopes life stories such as his will inspire others to get an education.

"You have made your mark on the world in countless ways, distinguishing yourself as a soldier and a pillar of your community," Ross said to Patrick. "You have set an exemplary example for students who aspire to do great things for others."

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