As part of Wesleyan’s ongoing commitment to recruiting and supporting military veterans, the University has partnered with Service to School as the newest member of its VetLink network of institutions of higher learning.
“This partnership allows us to collaborate with the Service to School team in identifying undergraduate veteran applicants and ensuring they are set up for success when applying to Wesleyan,” said Amin Abdul-Malik Gonzalez ’96, Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid.
“We are proud to welcome Wesleyan University as the newest member of the Service to School VetLink partnership program,” said Jim Selbe, Chief Operating Officer, Service to School. “Wesleyan University’s commitment to building connections and relationships within and beyond the classroom serves as an exemplar to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for our Nation’s veterans.”
Gonzalez and his team recognize that a veteran’s journey to Wesleyan is very different from that of a student who has just graduated from high school. “It is important for the Office of Admission to explore meaningful ways to acknowledge and respect veterans’ personal circumstances,” Gonzalez said.
The Admission office has also launched a section on the Wesleyan website dedicated to veterans. There prospective veteran students will find resources and financial aid information. The University will also soon make available a veteran-specific undergraduate application that accommodates varied circumstances.
“A custom application will allow our team to appropriately consider translatable military and life experiences as part of our holistic review of each veteran applicant,” Gonzalez said.
In addition to the University’s partnership with Service to School, it will co-sponsor a college success workshop early next year with the Warrior-Scholar Project, which provides veterans with mentorship and resources as they navigate the cultural shift from military service to college.
“What makes Wesleyan different is that here I can fully be a student. I’m studying Latin American social and political movements in the 20th century. I joined the rugby team. I was a model for an art class. I’ve joined different student groups and met people who are excited, energetic, and motivated to learn. I’m always going to be a veteran, but here I don’t need to be a veteran first,” said Diego Olivieri ’24, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
The University will also work with the Department of Education’s Veterans Upward Bound program, which is designed to assist veterans in the development of academic skills necessary to succeed in postsecondary education.
“Wesleyan is not necessarily a place for someone who’s just looking to get a degree. This is a place for people to challenge themselves academically—even if you don’t know exactly what you want to learn yet. Being passionate about learning is the most important thing,” said Kay Perkins ’24, a U.S. Air Force veteran.
Gonzalez said that he plans to meet with many of Wesleyan’s veterans to look for other ways to support this vital part of the University community.
During Homecoming and Family Weekend, a group of local veterans, staff members, and faculty gathered together in Beckham Hall to connect over their shared service and to enjoy each other’s company. Shortly before the kickoff of the November 5 football game against Williams College, the veterans lined up behind the Middletown Pipes and Drum corps, and to the sounds of bagpipes and the cheers of the Wesleyan faithful, processed onto the field.
“Military veterans are a valued part of the Wesleyan community, helping to enrich and fully engage in the ambitious yet practical principles of civil debate and collaborative problem-solving that move us forward, both individually and collectively,” Gonzalez said.