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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Veterans and Higher Education

The Los Angeles Times reports on veterans at Stanford, including former Marine William Treseder, who served in Iraq:

When Veterans Day came and went without any acknowledgement from the student body or administration, Treseder was furious at the oversight.

He went to see the university president to ask for an outreach program to help other military veterans gain admission. It was the first of several meetings. Treseder found that Stanford and the Marine Corps have at least one thing in common: Institutional change does not happen overnight.

"William has gotten us to think about a number of issues," said Jeff Wachtel, senior assistant to Stanford President John Hennessy.

Treseder spoke to several student groups to break down their suspicion of military veterans. He read a portion of the poem "In Flanders Fields" to a fall gathering of new students.

Along with his studies, Treseder has become an unofficial leader of a small group of students who have made the same journey: Marine grunts who are now undergraduates at an elite university.

By Treseder's count, among Stanford's roughly 7,000 undergraduates there are 10 students who are former members of the military. Seven are Marines.


From their classmates, they get the occasional intrusive question: Did you kill anyone in the war?

Chris Clark, 25, who served two tours with a reconnaissance unit in Iraq, received a Combat Action Ribbon and a Purple Heart. Now he's a political science major.

He dodges the question about killing — not because it is a painful subject but because it requires an explanation about the complexity and moral grayness of combat that most Stanford students probably would not understand.


Clark is studying with Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of State and now a political science professor at Stanford. He was in her seminar "Challenges and Dilemmas in Foreign Policy."

Rice favors veterans for her classes: "I've seen first-hand how veterans can elevate and inform classroom discussions because of their real-life experiences.''

The Gainesville Times reports:
Gainesville State College is striving to become a more veteran-friendly campus.

The school has become part of the University System of Georgia's "Soldiers to Scholars" consortium, which helps veterans, including reservists, use education as the bridge back to civilian life.

The program aims to "target degree areas that are highly employable according to state statistics, so we're looking at criminal justice, health fields, education and some engineering technology-oriented degrees," said Chaudron Gille, associate vice president for academic affairs.

"Those are the ones being pushed ... in trying to make courses available online collaboratively and give more credit for military experience and training where it can fit into a degree program."