Dayton Daily News: Wright State dedicates garden honoring veterans, military-connected students


Tricia English, widow of Captain Shawn English, speaks at the dedication of the champions garden named in honor of her husband outside the veteran and Military Center on Wright State University’s Dayton Campus.

Wright State University and its Veteran and Military Center on Friday dedicated the Captain Shawn L. English Champion Garden outside the center and Millett Hall.

The outdoor space honors veterans, military-connected students and those who support them, and is named for Shawn English, a 1999 Wright State Army ROTC graduate killed at age 35 on patrol in Iraq in 2006.

English’s widow, Tricia, said memorializing her late husband with a campus garden space open to everyone is a special honor because Wright State and its Army ROTC program changed his life.

“It was such an instrumental place that gave him, not the confidence, but the competence that led him to believe that he could be a good officer,” she said. “He knew he had those skills, but he needed the education. It was at Wright State where he gained that competence, a belief in himself and self-efficacy.”

The outdoor space features patio seating and tables under a large pergola.

A bench in the garden memorializes Christopher Roche II, who worked in the Veteran and Military Center as a student and died in 2020. Roche majored in cyber security and served in the U.S. Navy before transferring to the Navy Reserves.

“This is a public space that celebrates the student and non-student veterans, active duty and the champions of people who support veterans, who include a lot of our students, staff and faculty,” Seth Gordon, director of the Veteran and Military Center. “It celebrates people’s family members, their parents and aunts and uncles. This is a place for all of us to honor the community of care that supports our current and former service members.”

Community members can support the Captain Shawn L. English Champion Garden by purchasing an inscribed brick or patio paver or an inscribed dog tag. Learn more at

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