Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Welcomes Special Guest for Vietnam War Conference Banquet

Bri Lopez

February 21, 2023

Jan Scruggs

Jan Scruggs, the founder of the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial, will be this year’s keynote speaker.

Texas Tech University's Vietnam Center & Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive, along with the Institute for Peace & Conflict, will host a special evening featuring Jan Scruggs, a Vietnam veteran and founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.  

Jan Scruggs
Jan C. Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, standing at the apex of the Wall

Photo Credit: Dane A. Penland (Smithsonian Institution)

Scruggs will be the keynote speaker at a banquet Friday (March 3), as part of a conference titled, “1973: The Paris Peace Accords and the Allied Withdrawal from South Vietnam,” which begins March 2 and runs through March 4. 

The son of a waitress and a truck driver, Scruggs volunteered to serve in the military after high school. He was decorated for gallantry by the U.S. Army in Vietnam. After his return, he became a recognized expert on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and wrote articles on the subject for the Washington Post and Military Medicine.  

In 1979, he decided that America's veterans deserved national recognition. Compelled to honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War, Scruggs led the work of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and countless supporters to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  

After a great deal of controversy surrounding the design and the lack of consensus over what constituted as an appropriate memorial, he spearheaded the effort to get Congress to authorize and approve its location on the National Mall. Within three years, the memorial was a reality. Welcoming nearly 5 million visitors annually, the wall is an iconic place of personal and national healing.     

Scruggs obtained a master's degree in education from American University in Washington, D.C., and a law degree from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the bar for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. He now is a senior adviser helping to raise money for the Global War on Terror Memorial planned for Washington, D.C., and he chairs the National Appeals Board for the Selective Service.  

Jan Scruggs
Photo Credit: © 2012, Matt McClain (Washington Post)

The banquet will be held at 6:00 p.m. Friday (March 3) at the International Cultural Center Hall of Nations, 601 Indiana Ave.   

All conference events aside from the banquet are being held at the MCM Elegante Hotel, 801 Ave. Q.  

Registration for the full conference costs $150 for the public, with students and those wishing to attend only the banquet able to register for $50.  

The conference is sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences, the Department of History, the International Affairs Office, the Department of Political Science, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Research & Innovation, The Vietnam Center & Sam Johnson Archive and the Institute for Peace & Conflict.  

This program was made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  

Those looking to register for the event can do so by filling out this form.