Thursday, July 25th, 2024
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Millersville University Salutes Veterans

“I felt welcomed here and I’m glad I chose to come to Millersville.

Veterans deserve a college that will help them meet their desired goals and support them along the way. Millersville University works hard to provide a strong educational experience for all of our students, while also providing resources for our students who are veterans.

Millersville University has 140 known veterans who are benefiting from resources on campus.

Brittany Ritchey, a veteran on campus, is a junior majoring in economics with a concentration in finance. She explained that the comradery among the veterans is something she really appreciates about Millersville’s veteran program. “When I separated from the military the thing I had most trouble with was fitting back in with society especially with the other students on campus. The thing I loved most about being in the military was the comradery. So, to be able to come to the Mercer House and chat with fellow veterans about school or to share our stories with each other has made coming back to school easier.”

Yvonne DeBlois, the Veterans Resource Center administrator at Millersville says that many of the vets enrolled at the University live off-campus. Some have families, and some have just returned home from a 4-, 6- or 8-year commitment in the service. For the veterans that do live on campus they have available to them duplexes featuring free laundry, showers, computer lab, kitchen, lounge and a backyard with grills and yard games.

The Veteran Resource Center is located at The Mercer House. There vets can find all the information they need about tuition, housing or other accommodations. Mercer’s location at 28 W. Cottage Ave. in Millersville also has easy access to the surrounding education buildings.

Ritchey offered more insight on what it is like for a veteran to adjust to the normal college lifestyle, explaining that the military is such a challenging lifestyle, and that learning to switch to a more moderate lifestyle is something that isn’t easy. “Yvonne is our bridge from military thinking to civilian thinking,” she explained. “Having a resource like Yvonne has been amazing. We veterans are very appreciative of her. She is our middle ground. When we are having problems with anything on campus she is almost always able to answer our question or guide us in the right direction to get the right answer.”

Over the years, Millersville has ranked in several categories including Best Fine & Studio Arts Colleges for Veterans and Best Social Work Colleges for Veterans. This puts the University in the top 1% of all schools nationwide when it comes to vets receiving an education in fine arts, and the top 15% for vets studying social work.

Analiza Gordy, another veteran, is a freshman currently undeclared, but would like to study criminology. She believes that Millersville treats their veteran students well and makes them feel very welcomed. “I love how diverse Millersville is, just like it is in the military. I felt welcomed here and I’m glad I chose to come to Millersville. And even from what I have experienced so far this semester is how veterans are appreciated here not just by students, but also by the staff.”

Gordy continued to explain how at Millersville she and the other veterans are almost always recognized for the work they have done and the gratitude they receive is always appreciated. “You don’t necessarily see that outside in the “real world,” but a simple thank you really makes a difference to a veteran, because sometimes we are not recognized for the sacrifices we had to make. Millersville has been very helpful when I applied here and it was a smooth transition,” she said.

Millersville also has received the Statement of Support for Guard and Reserve Award, which recognizes schools, businesses and organizations that go above and beyond in supporting veteran employees. Veterans are employed all over campus, and they run the entire Veterans Resource Center at the Mercer House.

DeBlois noted that the University gives veterans hiring preferences over other applicants, given they fulfill the requirements needed for the specific position.

Resources including Gigi Bermudez, our School Certified Official, help veterans apply for any possible financial aid they may need. Other community partnerships such as the Lancaster Vet Center focuses on counseling for victims of military sexual trauma, combat veterans or families of soldiers injured or killed in action. They provide readjustment counseling, which helps vets readjust to normal life if needed.

The M-Withdrawal, also known as the Military Withdrawal, is used when an enrolled veteran on campus must leave for training or a call for duty. Many times these veterans will take an “incomplete” on their transcript for a specific class, and then are able to resume and complete it later. Professors and teachers work very hard with these students and are aware of the importance of their sudden departures if it should arise.

When asked about anything new for the veteran’s program in the fall, DeBlois responded, “We are launching a survey we hope to repeat annually, tracking the “pros and grows” of their matriculation here. I’m hoping that we can identify areas that might be barriers to improve ease of access, or otherwise expand on things identified as being positive attributes.”

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