October 17, 2022

WSU dedicates Colonel Gregory Gadson Office of Military and Veterans Academic Excellence

Headshot of Col. Gregory Gadson
Col. Gregory Gadson

U.S. Army Col. Gregory Gadson served his country in every conflict from 1989 until May 2007, when a vehicle he was traveling in hit a roadside bomb. “I knew I was wounded seriously because I couldn’t move,” Gadson said during an interview with VIP Alexandria magazine. “The last thing I said before I lost consciousness was, ‘God, I don’t want to die here,’ and I was out.”

Gadson spent the next week fighting for his life at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He lived, but Gadson — a U.S. Military Academy graduate and football player who served in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Joint Forge, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom — had lost both legs above the knees and normal use of his right arm and hand.

On Oct. 28, 2022, Wayne State University will unveil the Colonel Gregory Gadson Office of Military and Veterans Academic Excellence in his honor.

Jim Anderson, a College of Engineering alumnus and founder of Urban Science, a Detroit-based automotive consultancy and technology firm, made a gift of $1 million to support the WSU Office of Military and Veterans Academic Excellence (OMVAE).

Anderson first heard about Gadson when a West Point graduate member of the Urban Science team sent a company-wide email asking colleagues to pray for Gadson following the injury. Anderson was inspired to meet Gadson and his wife, Kim. They have since formed a deep friendship, with Anderson continually searching for ways to honor his friend and his service, as well as recognizing all branches of the military.

“I appreciate not only Greg, but what the military has done for me,” Anderson said. “I wouldn’t have had this choice that I have, had it not been for the freedom and opportunities the armed forces provide all Americans. And you can’t be around Greg and not get inspired.”

Gadson later served as head of the Army’s Wounded Warrior program and as a garrison commander of Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia, until retiring in 2014.  

He is also recognized as serving as the inspiration for the 2007 New York Giants, who went from 0-2 to Super Bowl champions after Mike Sullivan, a former West Point teammate and wide receivers coach for the Giants, invited Gadson to meet the team. Gadson’s emotional speech before their third game led to the Giants’ run to the Super Bowl. Gadson was on the sidelines throughout the season, and the Giants gave him his own Super Bowl ring. He has also acted professionally, including in the movie Battleship, and is an accomplished photographer and motivational speaker.

Wayne State will host the unveiling of the Colonel Gregory Gadson Office of Military and Veterans Academic Excellence Friday, Oct. 28, at 2 p.m. Those interested in honoring Gadson and celebrating OMVAE students — in particular military personnel and veterans from all branches of service — are welcome to join. Secure your spot at rsvp.wayne.edu/gadson.

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