Suzette McGraw Price (’11 B.A.) recognized them from their camouflage backpacks.
But there was hardly any interaction between McGraw-Price and fellow veterans on campus.
That all changed after she helped establish the Student Veterans Association at University of Michigan-Dearborn, and also started a campus chapter of the Student Veterans of America. Both groups serve as networks for student veterans, where they can receive assistance with securing veteran’s benefits and resources about PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) treatment.
“From that point on, that’s when we really started to rally the troops,” said McGraw-Price, who served two stints in the U.S. Army. “We were finding people in all kinds of diverse areas. And everyone was having the same problems. It was having that sense of camaraderie that helped us.”
The effort put forth by students, faculty and staff to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus helped distinguish UM-Dearborn as a “Military Friendly School.”
G.I. Jobs magazine included UM-Dearborn in its 2013 list of military-friendly schools, which honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that embrace American veterans as students. G.I. Jobs compiled the list after polling thousands of schools nationwide to determine which institutions best led recruitment efforts of military and veteran students.
“The fact that University of Michigan-Dearborn was distinguished as a ‘Military-Friendly School’ shows our commitment to providing a supportive environment for military students here,” said Stanley Henderson, vice chancellor for Enrollment Manager & Student Life. “The University plans to continue on with those efforts in the years ahead to ensure a great college experience for not just veterans, but all students.”
UM-Dearborn also boasts a successful Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program, led by Charles Caruana. Through their grueling morning training sessions and busy class schedules, ROTC cadets build character, determination and a work ethic most students could only dream of.
That’s why Caruana hopes to expand UM-Dearborn’s ROTC by marketing the program at orientation and to student organizations.
“The whole idea is to see who can get the bigger program going,” he said. “My goal is to make UM-Dearborn the hub for ROTC.”