Remarks on Creating a Successful Path for Veterans

November 2, 2016

The Path to Success for Student Veterans, Hahn University Center

Creating a Successful Path for Veterans

Throughout my career, I have been a strong advocate that colleges and universities are the best places in society to develop and foster responsible citizenship, and that by becoming anchor institutions in their local community and confronting society’s toughest issues, universities can be beacons of hope and the greatest forces for positive change in the 21st century. 

This is one of the primary characteristics that attracted me to the University of San Diego.  Developing engaged, ethical leaders and globally-minded citizens is in the DNA of this contemporary, Catholic university. 

There are wonderful reflections that members of our campus community have shared with me about the vision of USD’s founders, Bishop Charles Buddy and Mother Rosalie Hill.  They envisioned a university on the hill as a beacon of light for the Catholic intellectual tradition.  A tradition grounded in the highest standards of free inquiry, and enriched by the contributions of religions, philosophies, cultures and ways of living from around the world.  A tradition that not only tolerates, but even welcomes creative tensions and engages in dialogue that is open, respectful, and civil. 

It is in this vision from our founders that we derive our commitment to ethical conduct and compassionate service. A charism that helps to develop responsible citizens and leaders committed to the common good, a community that embraces by its very actions the Catholic moral and social tradition and recognizes the dignity of each and every person as created in the image and likeness of God.

This vision culminates in a university that advances global perspectives and cultivates an appreciation of beauty, goodness and truth; a university that defines its academic and scholarly pursuits by continuously uncovering opportunities for the physical, spiritual, emotional, social and cultural development of its students.

We have a remarkable faculty at USD who embrace these principles and work tirelessly inside and outside of the classroom to help students become agents of positive change.  And Changemakers are exactly what this world needs the most today.

In my opinion, some of the best examples of reflecting the principles and charisms for Changemaking are our own military-connected students here at USD.  These remarkable students have traveled throughout the world and have a unique and diverse understanding of the meaning of ethical leadership and compassionate service.  They bring their valuable experiences back to the University of San Diego and share their skills and talents in innovative ways—not only in the classroom, but as family members and engaged citizens in our communities.

San Diego is one of the most densely populated locations for the military, and thanks to the good work and leadership of Derek Abbey, we have been blessed with a healthy 11 percent growth in our military-connected student population over the past year.  This has brought tremendous value to USD and our local communities.

The University of San Diego is very proud of its long-standing partnership with the military, veterans, and their families.

We have been the headquarters for San Diego NROTC Unit since 1982.  

In 1999, our School of Business created a Master of Science in Global Leadership in collaboration with the Naval Postgraduate School and Office of Naval Research.  This is one reason why The Military Times ranks our Business School as one of the “Best for Vets. 

Since 2009, the University of San Diego has been a member of the Veteran’s Administration’s Post-9/11 G.I. Bill’s Yellow Ribbon program, which funds a majority of tuition expenses for eligible students.

Our Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science has teamed with the White House and other universities to educate current and future nurses on supporting the unique needs of our military-connected students.

USD’s School of Law has also been active at the local, state and federal levels, offering free legal assistance through military and veterans programs. 

With small class sizes and hands-on instruction, our Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering offers special programs for military-connected students who want to pursue degrees in general or specialized disciplines within the field of engineering.

And our Veterans Center is open to all, where students can gather to socialize, study, and build community.

For our commitment, The University of San Diego has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top universities for veterans.

I want to thank all of our military-connected students for the commitment and sacrifices you and your families have made for our country and the unique value you bring each and every day to the University of San Diego.

As the president of USD, I can promise that we will continue to support your efforts as students and continue that support as you pursue your careers.  

Events like this one can be very effective in advancing new opportunities by collaborating with professionals from across San Diego and by partnering with great companies like LinkedIn to build professional networks.  These are very important events that empower you to stay on the leading edge of learning and uncover new and innovative ways to contribute to positive change as you pursue your education and careers. 

There probably has never been a greater time in our nation’s history than right now when our country has needed more liberally educated citizens, who have traveled abroad, experienced other cultures, and studied other languages.  Our military-connected students are models of enlightened citizenship and serve as excellent examples for our entire Torero family, our local San Diego communities, and communities around the world. 

I will end by extending my own special thanks to LinkedIn, our community partners, university colleagues and friends of USD who are here in support of our students.  Together, we can set the standard for a contemporary Catholic university by preparing our students to be innovative Changemakers prepared to confront society’s urgent challenges.

James THarris III, DEd