National News

The Role of Military Students at Saint Leo

veterans day @sluchespeake

The Lions’ Pride is running articles for the month of Mar. in honor of Military Caregiver Month. This is the third article in a series to be published for this month.

Saint Leo University is a school that is known throughout the country for being very military friendly. Whether it is online, in the education centers, or on the main campus, the University holds pride in serving the men and women that serve the United States of America.

Many students had the experience of having military veterans in their classes. For the majority of the students that start their college life right after high school, it is a new experience. The veterans bring a lot of experience from their career and life to the classroom. Many of them have served overseas, are married, or even have children. These very different backgrounds can add value to class discussions through different views and levels of experience.

“I am currently the Director of Military Services and in that role, I am able to work directly with student veterans and military students and military family members to assist them with any issues or challenges they may have during their course of study with Saint Leo,” said Pamela Martis, who is a retired U.S. Army Colonel, showing how the University benefits from hiring former military service men and women.

Martis retired from active duty in 2013, having served 28 years. She was commissioned from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, Class of 1985, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in operations research management. She has two master degrees from the University of Kansas and the National Defense University. In addition to that, she was awarded the Bronze Star and the Department of Defense Distinguished Superior Service Medal.

“I act as an advocate for them with other University offices and departments and work closely with the Registrar, the Deans and the VP for the WorldWide Division to ensure we provide the supportive services needed by our military and student veterans. I also am the Staff Advisor for the Saint Leo University Student Veterans of America Chapter.” Colonel Martis said. “My office works with the Center Directors and helps to advocate for the military and student veterans attending at the centers as well as online and here at University campus. Saint Leo University has a rich heritage and tradition of providing education services to military and we value that relationship by supporting our military and student veterans wherever they may be attending.

There are other veterans working professionally on campus in numerous departments. In addition to Colonel Martis, the University also hired Bob Quinn as vice president of Business Development. Quinn is a seasoned veteran in corporate management; he served as a captain in the U.S. Army and was awarded the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, among other commendations.

Another addition in the staff under Lennox is Cyrus Brown. In Aug. of 2016, Brown started his new role of executive director of University Public Safety. In this capacity, he is responsible for reviewing and improving safety measures throughout the university. Prior to joining Saint Leo, he was associate director of safety for Bethune-Cookman University (FL) and served for 31 years in the Florida Highway Patrol. Brown is also a veteran of the U.S. Army. In addition to a bachelor and a master degree, he is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville (KY), and Leadership in Police Organizations program from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Currently, there are around 5,100 former military students attending Saint Leo University. This number marks around one third of all students that attend Saint Leo University on the main campus, online, and at the education centers. There are also active duty military members taking online classes, while being stationed around the world.

Saint Leo University’s efforts to serve active duty and former military members did not stay unheard. According to a U.S. News & World report, Saint Leo University is providing two of the best programs in the United States, while also being ranked 37th for the best online bachelors programs for veterans. In addition to that the University has earned a Top 10 Gold Level military friendly school award in December of 2016.

“The value that the student veterans and military bring to campus is immeasurable. Their life experiences give them a different and wide perspective in terms of how they find solutions to challenges, the leadership roles they filled in the military and the teamwork and organization skills they developed during their military service,” said Colonel Martis. “I encourage all students, whether on Main campus or at one of our many education centers or even through our Center for Online Military & Family Club monthly meetings to reach out to student veterans and military students to engage them and learn what their service instilled in them and how they use what they learned in the military to tackle their transition back into the civilian lifestyle and into a higher education and college environment.”

In the near future, the University is likely to continue its dedicated efforts to support military students. Especially, with the Saint Leo President William J. Lennox Jr., who is a retired U.S. Army three-star lieutenant general. After graduating the U.S. military academy in West point he had a 35 year long military career, before changing career paths. Next to Lennox, there are many more Saint Leo employees who bring leadership from previous military careers to the University.

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