An Andover High School graduate was among the veterans recognized by Northern Essex Community College at a Veterans Appreciation Day luncheon last week.
Phil Starks, a 1985 graduate of AHS who went on to graduate from NECC, was one of three guest speakers at the event. Starks, who now lives in North Andover, enrolled in NECC’s liberal arts program after serving a number of years in the military.
His Northern Essex studies were interrupted by a call to duty in the Gulf War. While stationed in the Middle East, Starks learned he was accepted to Harvard. He went on to earn a Ph.D. from Cornell University in New York and is now teaching as an associate professor at Tufts University in Medford and doing research in the field of behavioral ecology.
Starks said the military taught him “how to be a better organized person” and Northern Essex “provided an educational foundation.”
“Harvard and Cornell would not have happened without first the service and then Northern Essex,” he said.
Fifty NECC students, faculty and staff attended the luncheon on the Haverhill campus. It was sponsored by the Student Engagement and Veterans’ Services clubs.