FEB 2017

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18 G.I. JOBS | FEBRUARY 2017 | MILITARYFRIENDLY.COM CULTURE & COMMITMENT I may be biased given my own prior military experience, but any time I find a Marine at the helm of a program, I know I'm in good hands. Such was the case as I met Chris Gorman, director of veterans affairs for CCNY. He knew his program, and better yet, he knew his students. During the course of our award audit process, I drilled into each scoring area and there was not a single case where he needed to look something up. More importantly, he elaborated without prompting on areas of continued focus for improvement and punctuated our conversation with personal anecdotes. Commitment certainly begins with the head of any campus-based veterans program, but our Military Friendly ® Schools must demonstrate that they go beyond a single resource, team or dedicated space. The very best Military Friendly ® Schools have developed a culture that embraces and integrates military students through collaboration across all campus departments and services. Admittedly, the sense of cultural fit and commitment to veteran students on campus was an almost immediate impression upon my arrival, and as I learned about the history of CCNY, the reason for this sense became clear. The City College of New York was originally founded as the Free Academy of the City of New York in 1847 by Townsend Harris. This academy was ratified by a statewide referendum to "provide children of immigrants and the poor access to free higher education based on academic merit alone." In 1961, CCNY merged with other city colleges to form the City University of New York (CUNY). The CCNY campus itself is striking with its landmarked neo- Gothic architecture designed by George Browne Post, the architect of the Stock Exchange. City College boasts not only the first student government body in the nation, but counts 10 Nobel Laureates among its esteemed alumni. The military connection and history is exceedingly strong and evident across the campus, which housed the Army Specialized Training Program from 1946 to 1955 and now includes the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership (class of 1961) and a prominent statue of the school's second president, Medal of Honor recipient and Civil War Gen. Alexander Webb. While many universities claim a similarly incredible alumni list (CCNY's includes Morrie Schwartz, Sen. Robert Wagner, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Ralph Lauren and John O'Keefe), it was a comment made by Juana Reina, vice president of student affairs, that unveiled the depth of CCNY's commitment to veterans. She noted that the growth of the institution came from the personal growth of each student, and the impact they have on campus. CCNY's culture is one that aligns with the values of military service, and it is realized not merely through programs, but more importantly through cross-campus integration and constantly fostering personal growth, leadership and independence. I have often wondered how civilian institutions can successfully match the military in leadership development, and at the City College, I believe I've found a vibrant example. INTEGRATION & INDEPENDENCE A key finding in our analysis of the performance data of Military Friendly ® Schools is that the best outcomes (as measured by graduation rate, job placement rate, retention rate, loan default rate and loan repayment rate) for veteran students are strongly correlated to programs that ensure integration and foster independence. One only needs to read through the fascinating history of the CCNY to understand that this school is dedicated to developing student leadership, not upon graduation, but in every moment the student is part of the campus. I got the sense that there is no idle time at CCNY, that 2017 MILITARY FRIENDLY ® SCHOOLS SURVEY CATEGORIES & WEIGHTINGS GRADUATION & CAREER OUTCOMES 30% MILITARY STUDENT SUPPORT & RETENTION 30% FINANCIAL AID & LOAN REPAYMENT 12% ADMISSIONS & ORIENTATION 10% CULTURE & COMMITMENT 9% ACADEMIC POLICIES & COMPLIANCE 9% MILITARY FRIENDLY ® SCHOOLS MUST DEMONSTRATE THAT THEY GO BEYOND A SINGLE RESOURCE, TEAM OR DEDICATED SPACE.

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