Texas A&M University has been formally recognized as a “Military Friendly School” for its participation in the nation’s new GI Bill and related endeavors, an honor that university officials welcome while pointing out that Texas A&M has been “military friendly” and a major contributor to the military since its opening 133 years ago.
In the latest such recognition for Texas A&M, “G.I. Jobs” magazine has bestowed “Military Friendly School for 2010” honors on it, a designation that publisher Rich McCormack notes is awarded only to the top 15 percent of institutions of higher learning in the nation.
“Clearly you have an interest in recruiting military students, and I urge you to continue your already stellar efforts by improving your military-friendliness every year,” McCormack said in notifying Texas A&M officials of its designation. On behalf of the eight million military members and veterans seeking a school, I thank you for your commitment to educating our nation’s most deserving heroes.”
The G.I. Jobs’ “military friendly” designation is in addition to that bestowed on Texas A&M and other parts of The Texas A&M University System earlier this year through the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) program. SOC designation indicates that an institution of higher learning adheres to a number of criteria – such as online learning and support groups – that make it easier for veterans and military personnel to obtain an education. About 1,700 schools, colleges and universities currently have the SOC designation. The A&M System military-friendly program complements a proposal by Gov. Rick Perry to extend in-state tuition status to all returning veterans regardless of home of record.
Texas Aggies have served with distinction in every U.S. conflict since the Spanish-American War and provided more military personnel – enlisted and officers – in World War II than any other institution, including the service academies. Seven Texas A&M graduates or students who volunteered to interrupt their college careers to serve during WW II earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, a distinction unsurpassed by any other university.
Today, the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets – through its affiliation with the Army, Air Force and Naval (Navy and Marine Corps) ROTC programs – commissions more officers into the armed forces than any institution other than the service academies. With an average strength of 1,800 cadets, the Texas A&M corps is the largest uniformed body on any campus in America. It has produced more than 250 flag officers – generals and admirals.
The military sends scores of active-duty personnel to Texas A&M. They include enlisted personnel who have been selected to study for undergraduate degrees and officers who are given the opportunity to earn graduate degrees in a variety of fields.
Veterans also receive big “howdy” welcomes in Aggieland. The university’s Veterans Services Office provides valuable support in such areas as GI Bill benefits and scholarships. Typically, more than 600 veterans are enrolled at Texas A&M.
Texas A&M has available numerous scholarships designated for veterans. They include 25 offered through the Honored Service Scholarship program, as well as through the MG James Ursano Scholarship Fund and the Faye Leeth Memorial Endowed Scholarship, among others.
A new program that has received considerable media attention is the Entrepreneurship Boot camp for Veterans with Disabilities. It is offered through a university consortium of which Texas A&M is a part, along with Syracuse University, where the program originated, and UCLA and Florida State. At Texas A&M, the Mays Business School offers training in small business start-up and management to servicemen/women injured in the line of duty since 2001.
“Our involvement in this very special program is a reflection of the values we hold dear at Mays Business School and the priority we place upon entrepreneurship education,” said Richard Lester, clinical associate professor and director of academic entrepreneurship programs at Mays.
Texas A&M traces its transformation into a major modern university to the leadership of the late Gen. Earl Rudder, a 1932 graduate who served as the institution’s president from 1959 until his death in 1970. In addition to being remembered for his service as president of the university, Gen. Rudder is revered as the World War II hero who led the unit that scaled the cliffs of Normandy Beach on D Day, launching the allied invasion of Europe that led to victory over Nazi Germany.
Another president who made a highly positive impact on Texas A&M is Dr. Robert M. Gates, who led the university from 2002 until 2006, when he accepted the request of then-President George W. Bush to become Secretary of Defense.