April 28, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas—The Texas A&M University System today announced creation of a comprehensive new Veterans Support Office to coordinate and improve services for military veterans, active duty personnel and dependents attending or training at any of the system’s 19 member universities, state agencies or health science center.
The Veterans Support Office represents the fourth phase of the system’s highly successful Project Military Friendly, according to Jay Kimbrough, special advisor to the A&M System Board of Regents. Kimbrough launched the project in 2008 while deputy chancellor. Since that time, all 11 universities of the system have been designated military friendly by the standard-setting Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, and all have joined in participation in the innovative new Leadership Scholar Program of the United States Marine Corps.
Project Military Friendly’s mission of helping veteran-students through enhanced communications among system veteran services offices also led to implementation of collaborate efforts such as annual symposiums, bi-monthly TTVN sessions and an online interactive network, the Project Military Friendly Listserv, which provides daily information exchanges among veterans services offices in the A&M System and throughout the state.
Earlier this year, the Listserv implemented a survey showing that veteran and dependent enrollment throughout the A&M System had risen 112 percent in the last two years, to over 6,100 students, from fewer than 2,900 in 2009.
“We have been building steadily toward expanding our successes in Project Military Friendly to a more comprehensive level,” said Chancellor Michael D. McKinney. “Veterans and dependents and deployed personnel seeking higher education always have come to the Texas A&M System because they know our commitment to them is unflinching and eternal. This is further evidence of our promise.”
The Veterans Support Office will be attached to the Office of the Chancellor under the supervision of Kimbrough. Rod Davis, currently sharing duties as associate vice president of marketing and communication at Tarleton State University and acting coordinator of veterans support for the A&M System, will serve as director of the Veterans Support Office.
Kimbrough is a former Marine lance corporal who was severely wounded in action in Vietnam. He obtained an associate degree, BBA and law degree using the GI Bill. Davis received an ROTC scholarship and served as an Army first lieutenant in South Korea during the Vietnam Era. He has been involved in Project Military Friendly since its inception.
“Our vets are truly some of our top students and because of their sacrifice and service to our country, among the most deserving of advancing their education,” Kimbrough said. “We’ve made considerable progress in the past three years, and of course we have much more to accomplish. The Veterans Support Office gives the system a much-needed mechanism to institutionalize our mission for maximum effect. We intend to become a national model for providing veterans support in higher education in every way possible, and we’re already well along the path.”
Dr. Richard A. Box (Texas A&M ’61), chairman of the Board of Regents, former commander of the Texas State Guard and an Army veteran of Vietnam, said of the new office, “America’s veterans, and their families, have answered our country’s call to serve, and we are committed to serving them in making the transition home.”
About the A&M System
The A&M System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $3.3 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center, the A&M System educates more than 120,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. Externally funded research expenditures exceed $772 million and help drive the state’s economy.
Contact: Jason Cook