Monday, December 11, 2023

This new program for veterans at W&M just got a boost…in the millions

(WYDaily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(WYDaily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)

A William & Mary alumna, who wanted to remain anonymous, has made it possible for veterans to further their education at her alma mater.

That possibility was made to the tune of $10 million.

You read that right.

The money given to W&M will establish a new Veteran-to-Executive Transition program which will assist veterans in transitioning into civilian leadership roles.

The gift also establishes a new position, a special assistant for military and veterans affairs, to lead the program. W&M has yet to assign a person to this new role.

“We see our new program as an opportunity not only to accelerate the professional transitions of highly skilled and experienced men and women but also to approach holistically W&M’s wide array of programming for military students and veterans,” said W&M President Katherine Rowe in a news release.

The alumna, who is a trustee of the William & Mary Foundation, said she hopes other donors will recognize the value in veterans education, and will assist to support W&M VET in the future.

The W&M VET program includes sustaining the Office of Student Veteran Engagement, a two-year pilot program launched in 2019 with the support of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.

The new McLeod Tyler Wellness Center, established through the For the Bold campaign, will assist veterans and their families in working through stress resilience and adaptation to civilian life. Student veterans will receive further support through a “buddy system” that connects them with their peers and mentors.

The W&M VET will unite current programs, including the W&M Office of Student Veteran Engagement, the Law School’s Puller Veterans Benefits Clinic, the Troops to Teachers Virginia Center and the Military and Veterans’ Counseling Program at the School of Education.

Among other programs are the Major General James Wright MBA Program at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, the Army ROTC program, the Whole of Government Center of Excellence’s national security programs and the Association of 1775 veterans alumni group.

“The establishment of the W&M VET program reaffirms the university’s long-standing military tradition and commitment to veterans,” said Brig. Gen. (ret.) James R. Golden, who serves as a volunteer senior consultant to Rowe, according to the news release.“It is a game changer for William & Mary. The initiative will significantly expand our capacity to bring campus partners together to support our exceptional veterans.”

More than 83,000 active duty military service members are based in Hampton Roads, and an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 service members in the region leave the military annually, according to the news release.

Nationally, only one in 10 veterans attend colleges and universities with a six-year graduation rate over 70 percent, according to a study by the nonprofit Ithaka SR.


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