With 30 percent of our student body being current or former service members, Saint Leo University is committed to helping our military students obtain the education they want and have rightfully, selflessly, and bravely earned. Part of this commitment means taking the time this Veterans Day—and every Veterans Day—to honor our nation’s military history.
How Veterans Day Began
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website explains how it was President Woodrow Wilson who declared November 11, 1919 as the first Armistice Day that would honor those who served our country. He chose that particular date because it was the day in 1918 in which fighting ceased in World War I. According to the VA, this cease-fire was “on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,” thus the celebration of our military service members began the following year.
The purpose behind Veterans Day, according to President Wilson was to have “solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
Military.com adds that Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day on June 1, 1954, becoming “a day to honor American veterans of all wars.” For a number of years, the actual date of celebration varied but, on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford made it a law that our country would observe Veterans Day on November 11th, as was originally intended by President Wilson. This started in 1978 and has continued since.
Saint Leo Is Proud of Its Military Heritage
Saint Leo also has a military heritage in which it has proudly served thousands of military students, working with our nation’s armed forces decades ago (1973 to be exact) to make it possible for active duty service members and veterans alike to pursue a higher level of education.
In fact, it was on Veterans Day in 2010 when Saint Leo dedicated a bronze sculpture aptly named “For Those Who Serve” which honors all branches of the military and our university staff who serve them. This sculpture was originally commissioned in 2008, celebrating 35 years of helping our service members pursue academic success.
Currently, we partner with many different military units, some of with include: the Community College of the Air Force, The Air Force Academic Institution (AI) portal, Air University Assocaite to Baccalaureate Cooperative Program, Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE), Navy College Program Distance Learning Partnership (NCPDLP), U.S. Coast Guard Degree Programs for Maritime Law Enforcement Personnel, eArmyU, GoArmyEd, and Marine Corps Lifelong Learning Program’s Academic Explorer (AeX).
Serving Our Veterans Today and Every Day
To better help our veterans with all of their educational needs, Saint Leo created the Office of Military Affairs and Services. It is the mission of this office to “facilitate your success by providing support, resources and information that meet your unique needs as an active-duty military orveteran student.”
One way we accomplish this goal is through the Student Veteran Transition Course. This is an online course designed to help veterans as they move from service member to civilian. It is eight weeks in all and it gives the military student the information he or she needs in order to make that transition easier and a greater success.
Another good resource for our military members who are ready to find an internship or job comes courtesy of the Career Planning Office and it is called LionsLINK. LionsLINK is a search site which connects job and internship prospects with employers who give preference to Saint Leo students. This reduces the number of people that you’re competing against, giving you a greater chance of finding a position that suits you best.
Relieving the Financial Burden of Our Military Member’s Education
There’s no denying that our military are paid far less than they should be. This can make earning your degree extremely difficult, especially when you’re taking care of a family and trying to maintain a home at the same time.
To help our veterans overcome this type of financial challenge, we offer a In it you will find information about how we strive to serve our veterans, as well as some of the VA educational assistance programs which can potentially help fund your college degree. These include the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Post-Vietnam Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP), and Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP), among several others.
Additionally, there are also some privately-funded scholarship opportunities open only to military personnel or their families. These can help offset some of the costs associated with getting your two or four-year degree.
Saint Leo University honors our military on Veterans Day and every day. It’s the least we can do for all that you have done and continue to do for us.
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Photo: Tyler Bolken