For the second time in three years, the University of Georgia has been named the top tier one research institution in the nation in Victory Media’s Military Friendly Schools 2018-2019 rankings. The designation recognizes the university for its outstanding commitment to and programs for student veterans and their families. UGA had previously achieved the top ranking in 2016-2017 and was listed at second place last year.
“I am continually proud of the successes of our student veterans and the growth of the Student Veterans Resource Center,” said Victor K. Wilson, vice president for student affairs. “We are deeply committed to ensuring that these impressive students have all of the resources, support and connections they need to flourish—not only in their time at UGA, but far beyond.”
The Military Friendly designation comes at a time when participation in the programs and services of UGA’s Student Veterans Resource Center is steadily increasing, with nearly 80 percent of UGA’s self-identified undergraduate student veterans engaged in the center’s signature persistent coaching program. Engagement in all SVRC programming has risen significantly since persistent coaching was piloted in fall 2016.
The persistent coaching program promotes student veteran success through a consistent progression of engagements with faculty, staff and nonprofits that begins at matriculation and continues until graduation.
Attendance at the center’s annual Awards and Honor Cord Reception, held on April 26, was up sharply over the previous two years as graduating student veterans were presented with red, white and blue honor cords by UGA President Jere W. Morehead.
Ted Barco, SVRC director, said broad partnerships that have been forged on and off campus in recent years have fostered a more proactive approach to student engagement.
“In partnership with our Student Veterans Association, university administrators, faculty, staff, community groups and corporations, we model an integrated approach for veteran success,” he said. “The national recognitions and the turnout at this year’s Awards and Honor Cord Reception suggest that we, as an institution, are moving in the right direction.”
Founded in spring 2013, the SVRC serves as a central location for information about the university’s services for student veterans while also offering support, advocacy and a convenient location for student veterans to gather throughout the day.
Joseph Millunzi, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and president of UGA’s Student Veterans Association, said the university and the SVRC drive student veteran success.
“The university is developing responsive programs consistent with the selfless service of these veterans and is serving as a benchmark for student veteran programming across the nation,” he said.
Bill McDonald, dean of students, agrees. “Student veterans seeking a rigorous academic program in a military friendly environment will find a home at the SVRC and at UGA,” he said.
UGA continues to maintain top designations in other publications, including Military Advanced Education magazine’s “Top Schools” for 2018, U.S. News and World Report’s annual list of “Best Colleges for Veterans” and Military Times Magazine’s “2018 Best for Vets” rankings.
The Student Veterans Resource Center is a department within UGA Student Affairs. For more information about services for student veterans, call 706-542-9629 .