Last week, we were delighted to learn that KU has earned a No. 5 national ranking in the Military Times Best: Colleges 2018 rankings. The rankings recognize schools that excel in providing services to students with military ties, have a military-inclusive campus, and have high academic achievement rates among these students.
In light of this ranking, I would like to thank you for your work on behalf of military-affiliated students and recognize the special role these students play in our university community. As chancellor – and as a Navy veteran – I am proud of KU’s commitment to recruiting these students and ensuring they succeed.
A terrific example of our commitment to these 1,300-plus KU students is the opening of the Lt. Gen. William K. Jones Military-Affiliated Student Center, which serves as a centralized resource for current and prospective Jayhawks. The center includes study and meeting spaces, headquarters for the KU Student Veterans of America, a Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs representative to assist with VA claims, and staff to assist students with using the GI Bill. KU also has a Veterans Upward Bound program, an Office of Graduate Military Programs, a Military & Veterans Affairs Committee at KU Medical Center, and a series of programs at the Edwards Campus that support military personnel and civilians at Fort Leavenworth.
On a personal note, two of the most powerful events I’ve attended at KU have involved our military-affiliated students. The first event was our September 11 Remembrance Ceremony, which saw tremendous turnout from ROTC students and military-affiliated community members. The second event took place earlier this month, when KU received a $10,500 gift for scholarships from Dale and Megan Duncan, whose son Spencer was killed in Afghanistan. The event was a humbling reminder of the courage and sacrifice that is common among our military-affiliated students and families.
Finally, it is fitting to recognize the myriad ways our military-affiliated students benefit our community of scholars with their unique life experiences. The first mission of the University of Kansas is to educate leaders. By answering our nation’s call, our military-affiliated students are shining examples of the leaders we hope to educate here.
Thank you again for everything you do on behalf of military-affiliated students – and all students – at KU.