by Macklin Caruso
On Thursday, May 26, Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Education Chancellor Randy Gardner announced that Ohio University would be designated as a Collegiate Purple Star campus because of the University’s longstanding history of supporting military personnel in higher education.
“With these Collegiate Purple Star Award designations, service members, veterans and military-connected students are able to pursue higher education knowing that their school has the necessary support system and guidance to help them find their next steps,” DeWine said in his announcement on Thursday.
Ohio University is one of 33 universities in Ohio to be awarded this designation. OHIO President Hugh Sherman expressed gratitude to Governor DeWine and Chancellor Gardner for their recognition of the important role of higher education for military connected students.
“Ohio University is honored to have so many service members studying on our campuses, and we are proud to help them succeed in their studies and their careers,” President Sherman said. “We are thankful to Gov. DeWine and Chancellor Gardner for embracing military students so that they have the necessary resources to pursue their educational goals.”
Because Ohio is the first state in the nation to award this recognition, Ohio University is among the first universities in the country to be designated as a Collegiate Purple Star campus.
“We are extremely proud to be a part of the inaugural class of Ohio’s Collegiate Purple Star Campuses,” said Terry St. Peter, director of OHIO’s Veterans and Military Student Services Center and a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. “Our staff in the Veterans and Military Student Services Center and campus partners are totally invested in providing every manner of support necessary to ensure our military connected students have the resources necessary to be successful.”
To meet the criteria, universities need to have a dedicated military/veteran point of contact, priority registration for veterans and service members, surveys for student veterans and service members — along with their spouses and dependents — about needs and challenges and allow for the establishment of student-led groups and organizations for veterans and service members.
“This designation is particularly rewarding, since the criteria was established by professionals who are working with military connected students in higher education,” St. Peter said. “So, they are aligned with policies, procedures and efforts that set students up for success.”
Ohio University has long been recognized for its work with the military. In February, OHIO was recognized as one of the nation’s top military-friendly schools for the 11th consecutive year by Viqtory Media, a veteran-owned company and publisher of G.I. Jobs magazine.
St. Peter said that Ohio University consistently ranks as one of the top military schools in the country because of University policies that accommodate the rigid schedules of both active service students (drills/activations) and veterans (VA appointments).
This past year has really put those standards to the test, St. Peter said. He said it has been extremely difficult for National Guard students, who were being deployed by the state of Ohio to assist with COVID-19 operations.
St. Peter commended faculty and colleges for going to great lengths to accommodate military students, as well as the student body for being both welcoming and open-minded.
At Ohio University Lancaster, the Veterans and Military Student Services Center provides programs and services for student veterans, military personnel and their family members, including:
• Priority course registration
• Assistance transitioning from military to academic life
• Assistance with deployment and training issues
• Graduation stoles recognizing their branch of service and rank
For more information about Ohio University Lancaster's commitment to military veterans and available academic opportunities, email Shari Ayers, Director of Student Services at email@example.com.