UMF in the News: UMF taking initiative with veteran students

The University of Maine at Farmington recently graduated more than 300 students with degrees across many fields. According to an article in the Sun Journal, among this season of graduates are veterans Biley Randle and Thomas Tubman, who were honored at the college’s annual student leadership banquet on Wednesday, April 24, and represent an initiative to make military veterans feel more welcomed on campus.

“Veterans are leaders just from entering the call by raising their hand, and vowing to protect and serve their community,” Commander Stephan Bunker of Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 said at the banquet when presenting honors to two students.

Veterans receiving award

Commander Stephen Bunker, left, of Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 honors Bailey Randle, center, and Tom Tubman, right, for their military service. Bailey served in the Air Force while Tubman served in the Navy.

He went on to thank UMF President Joseph McDonnell in setting a “new tone” of welcoming veterans onto the campus. McDonnell’s new tone is aided by Administrative Support Supervisor and United States Navy Veteran Brian Ellis.

“We were searching for an assistant to the president after the person in that position left UMF,” McDonnell shared with The Franklin Journal. “Brian applied for that position, which had nothing to do with veterans’ affairs – and we hired him based on his prior administrative experience.”

“Upon learning of Brian’s active engagement in veteran affairs,” he continued, “I decided to build into the position a focus on veteran recruitment and liaison.

“Right now, we have 15 students that are veterans here at UMF,” Ellis said, “and we’ve got about 17 faculty and staff. What I’ve been doing since I started was meeting with these veteran students and staff and just seeing why they chose UMF, what they liked about UMF since they’ve been here, and how we can improve the experience for the veterans.”

Moving forward, Ellis is hoping to continue to expand the campus’ efforts with a special common area for veterans, campus housing for veterans, and expanding services to dependents of veterans as well.

To read more visit the Sun Journal

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