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Around the Columns

Making Mizzou 'veteran-friendly'


Mizzou faculty, staff and students can face big challenges when they’re called up for military service or when they return to campus after a tour of duty. The new MU Veterans Center will ease the transition. Photo by Shane Epping, Mizzou Wire

The MU campus might seem pretty tame after serving a few tours in Iraq or Afghanistan, but for former servicemen and women, returning to college after military duty can present some formidable problems: navigating the red tape of veterans’ educational benefits, registering late for classes and scrambling to get the courses they need for graduation. Students called up for military service mid-semester face similar headaches in withdrawing from classes on short notice.

Nearly two years ago, Chancellor Brady Deaton asked a campus task force to explore ways that Mizzou could become more veteran-friendly. In response to that group’s recommendation, MU has opened one of the first centers of its kind to provide support, share information and be an advocate for members of the armed forces. 

“Making the transition from the military to academia can be a stressful and anxious time for incoming veterans,” says Carol Fleisher, interim director of the MU Veterans Center. “The new Veterans Center will make this experience a seamless and positive effort for them.”

Staff at the new center will help veterans manage campus resources, such as registration, financial aid and admissions. Center staff will work with campus health departments, such as the Student Health Center and the Counseling Center, to support students, faculty and staff as they transition into and out of military service. They also will recruit veterans to campus.

“We realize that the needs of veterans may be different than those of typical incoming freshmen or new employees,” says Ann Korschgen, vice provost for enrollment management. “We want to make sure we are doing our part to make the transition from military to college and college to military as easy as possible.”

Appropriately enough, Deaton announced the center’s opening on Nov. 11, 2008 — Veterans Day.