For Kyra Azzato ’17, looking back on it, the vision really began on the day she arrived at Syracuse University to join the Army ROTC battalion. It was built upon the officers and teachers in charge of the program. She studied the way they supervised cadets, the concern and command they always showed during training in the field.
Are you an active-duty service member, veteran or military spouse pursuing your higher education? The Tillman Scholars program unites the best talent and leadership in the military community to make a significant impact in the fields of medicine, law, business, policy, technology, education and the arts. The application to become a 2017 Tillman Scholar will open from February 1 – March 1, 2017. If you’d like feedback on your essays and resumes, please visit nationalscholarships.syr.edu/award/tillman-scholars-program.
For one night only on Jan. 18, Syracuse Stage, in partnership with Hendricks Chapel, the Syracuse University Student Veterans Association and the Syracuse University Office of Veterans and Military Affairs, presents “Separated,” a theater performance based on the personal experiences of eight Syracuse University student veterans.
The performance takes place in the Storch Theatre in the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama complex at 820 E. Genesee St. at 7 p.m. “Separated” is a free, non-ticketed event open to the public on a first come, first served basis. A pre-show reception with free hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar begins at 6 p.m.
“Separated” is a collaborative effort between members of the Syracuse Stage artistic staff and the participating student veterans. Syracuse Stage associate artistic director Kyle Bass interviewed the students about their experiences in and out of military service. From the interview transcripts, he devised and composed a performance script that weaves each student’s individual story into a single narrative. The students will perform the finished script as a staged reading directed by Syracuse Stage’s new artistic director Robert Hupp.
The service experience of the eight students—Nick Brincka, Halston Canty, Zack Couch, Ginger Peterman, Brandon Smith, Jake VanMarter, Zack Watson and Kierston Whaley—include tours of duty in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and represent the Army, Navy and Marines. The title “Separated” references the separations each has endured in first separating from home and family to join the military, and then separating from the military to resume civilian life.
“Each of the eight student veterans in ‘Separated’ has a compelling and necessary story to tell,” Bass says. “Taken as a whole, their narratives of courage, fear, doubt, perseverance, purpose, uncertainty, loyalty, vulnerability, struggle and survival create a moving portrait of human truth. It’s thrilling and an honor to be entrusted with the stories of their experiences.”
The performance will be followed by a moderated question-and-answer session with the cast and creative team. A live stream will be broadcast on the Syracuse Stage Facebook page during the performance.
“Veterans have a world of experiences before they enter the classroom. ‘Separated’ allows the veteran students to share their stories and enlighten non-veterans,” says Syeisha Monquesse Byrd, director of engagement programs for Hendricks Chapel. “We are providing the audience a rare opportunity to ask questions that they may have felt awkward asking in any other setting.”
“Separated” is supported by a grant from Campus Compact and the MLK Day of Service.
“’Separated’ represents the beginning of what will be a new phase of engagement with area veterans, active duty military and their families. In the coming months Syracuse Stage seeks to build meaningful and genuine relationships with our military community,” says Hupp. “We start our journey with a theatrical event driven by the experiences of those veterans closest to us here on the Syracuse University campus. Honest and unvarnished, ‘Separated’ offers keen insight into lives lived so close, and yet so far away.”
Syracuse Stage is a Blue Star theater offering discounted tickets to its regular season shows for area veterans and active duty military and their families.
The Pat Tillman Foundation has selected Syracuse University as its 15th Pat Tillman Foundation University Partner. Syracuse joins 14 other University Partners, including Columbia University, George Washington University and Georgetown University. The selection process is by invitation only from the Pat Tillman Foundation.
“The staff, faculty and students of Syracuse University are committed to the success of military-connected students and their families,” says Marie Tillman, president and co-founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation. “In the spirit of Pat’s legacy, we are proud to partner with Syracuse to help more student veterans and spouses realize their potential as leaders of their communities and our country.”
Founded in 2004, the Pat Tillman Foundation invests in the future of military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships—building a diverse community of leaders committed to serving others. Tillman Scholars are selected on the basis of their extraordinary academic and leadership potential, their true sense of vocation and their deep commitment to create positive change. As a University Partner, at least one Syracuse University student veteran each year is guaranteed to become a Tillman Scholar.
“The University is honored to be named as a Pat Tillman Foundation University Partner,” says J. Michael Haynie, Syracuse University’s vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation and executive director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). “The purpose and mission of the Tillman Foundation aligns well with Syracuse University’s commitment to be the best place for veterans, and we’re excited and honored about the opportunity to welcome our first Tillman Scholar to campus.”
The Tillman Scholars application will open Feb. 1, 2017, and will be due on March 1. Interested students should plan to work with Syracuse University’s Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (nationalscholarships.syr.edu) on their application materials. Students who have questions regarding the application process can contact Jolynn Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2002, Tillman put his National Football League career with the Arizona Cardinals on hold to serve his country. Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Tillman’s death in April 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. Created to honor Tillman’s legacy of leadership and service, the Pat Tillman Foundation invests in military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships—building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others.
Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science has been recognized with a 2016 Engineering Excellence for Veterans Award from the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). The award names the College a top military-friendly institution and a “Best for Vets” school, recognized by Military Times and US News and World Report.
“It is a great honor to accept this award, and an even greater honor to enroll and support veterans. Their experience and skills serve them extremely well in engineering and computer science disciplines. We are firmly committed to aligning our College with the needs and aspirations of veterans today and in the future,” says Dean Teresa A. Dahlberg.
Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science is part of a campus that has a strong reputation and tradition for supporting veterans. Military Times recently named the University the #1 private school in the country, #3 overall for service members, military veterans and their families.
During the past two years, Syracuse University has worked hard to create a class-leading campus community in support of the nation’s veterans and their families. In this period, the University has seen veteran and military-connected enrollment double; more than $1.2 million has been raised for scholarships and other assistance for student veterans and ROTC cadets; and the ROTC program has grown to its highest enrollment levels in almost a decade.
The University will further its commitment to veterans and their families with the construction of the National Veterans Resource Complex (NVRC), a first-of-its-kind multi-use facility dedicated to advancing academic research, programming and community-connected innovation serving the social, economic and wellness concerns of the nation’s veterans and families. The NVRC will build upon and advance Syracuse University’s already strong national leadership in the veterans’ community, and serve as the center of veteran life on the campus of Syracuse University, in the local community and across Central New York.
Mike Haynie smiled as he walked across the Fort Drum Youth Services gym, surrounded by Syracuse football players teaching military youth the basics of the game.
“Isn’t this great?” he asked rhetorically.
A few hours later on that August day, Haynie, SU’s vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation and executive director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, announced the reestablishment of a series between Syracuse and Army, a relationship that ended in 1996 after a century of competition. But SU taking to Fort Drum for football goes deeper than just a football clinic or four games.
SU Athletics has evolved into the chief marketing tool for the university’s initiative to become the No. 1 place for veterans among higher education institutions. People know SU Athletics more than the history of veterans on campus — a pull that’s been embraced by administrators to reach the goal of becoming the standard.
Saturday’s SU football game against North Carolina State is Military Appreciation Day, but the connections between veterans affairs and athletics are seen throughout the year. The football team carries the 10th Mountain Division flag onto the field before some games, the “44” logo on T-shirts mimics the division’s logo and a service member is honored during each game as a tribute, among other examples.
“What’s powerful about the athletic department in the context of executing on other things that are important to Syracuse University, is they’re our brand ambassadors to constituencies that don’t know us for other things,” Haynie said.
The university’s commitment to veterans affairs dates back to World War II when Chancellor William Tolley helped write the G.I. Bill, which doubled college enrollments nationwide. SU had an open enrollment policy for veterans, leading to increased enrollment on the Hill.
Chancellor Kent Syverud brought the connection back to the top of the university’s agenda when he outlined the plan to make SU the best place for veterans during his inauguration speech in April 2014, one of four key platforms laid out in the speech. The first step was promoting Haynie to vice chancellor of veterans and military affairs, a move made a month later.
Since then, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and the newly-created Office of Veterans and Military Affairs have gained more prominence within the university. A first-of-its-kind National Veterans Resource Complex is also being built with an estimated completion time of spring 2019.
“It’s only appropriate that given it’s the university’s goal to be the No. 1 school for veterans, that athletics plays a role in that,” said SU Director of Athletics John Wildhack, “and is a partner with Mike and his team in trying to establish that.”
Wildhack is on Syverud’s executive leadership team and meets with about eight other members every week to go over the administration’s goals and problems. Just by being at the Monday afternoon meetings, Wildhack is able to understand the broader state of the university, such as enrollment and legal affairs, after taking the reins of the athletic department in July.
“I think it’s important that athletics is a full partner of the entire university,” Wildhack said. “I think one way to do that is for me and my staff to have an understanding of the priorities of the university and how do we play a role in helping the university achieve those priorities.”
Wildhack has embraced the university’s initiative more fully than his predecessors because of his larger understanding, Haynie said.
While Wildhack is new to the administration, one of the main constants of SU Athletics’ relationship with veterans and military affairs has been the football team’s annual training camp trip to Fort Drum, located about an hour and 15 minutes north of Syracuse.
It started five years ago under Doug Marrone, expanded when Scott Shafer was at the helm and regressed to one day this year under Dino Babers because he needed time to install his new system he brought in his first year.
“The more time we spend around our military personnel, the more we understand how much we really need to appreciate them,” Babers said in August, “and anything that we can do to help them in the future in any way, if it’s within my power, we’ll definitely try and do it.”
Wildhack said he and Babers will talk about future expansion with the Fort Drum portion of training camp.
Football players and personnel interact with Fort Drum soldiers and the children of military families during the visits. It’s a way for SU to get out into the community and publicly show its support for the military.
The Fort Drum connection remains the most visible display of the university’s commitment through athletics, with it transpiring into the regular season as well.
“Building a culture is all about symbols and artifacts. Because it is so visible and public, our athletic programs are some of our most prominent symbols,” Haynie said.
Worlds will collide in 2023 when SU football plays future military members in a four-game series against Army. Since 1899, the teams have played 21 times overall with Syracuse holding an 11-10 series lead.
Officials see the series as a way to spread the veteran-focused initiative and market itself as a leader in veterans affairs.
“In the case of West Point, just the proximity – it will be something that’s attractive for alumni in the New York area, our alumni in central New York and this area,” Wildhack said.
Haynie pushed hard for the series along with some other key officials, he said, adding that it’s a “logical rivalry.”
As the university continues to press toward No. 1 — it was recently ranked No. 3 overall by The Military Times — athletics will still be used as a marketing tool to publicly show that support.
“Syracuse has always been a place that’s placed a premium emphasis on being an institution that partners with the military and provides opportunity for our veterans,” Wildhack said. “The fact that we have that in our history and that’s been emphasized by Chancellor Syverud and his team, so I think it’s part of the fabric here.”
AFROTC is a program designed to train cadets to be commissioned officers in the United States Air Force. Here at SU, we pride ourselves on having a meticulously designed training environment which gives meaning to the Air Force’s core values, fosters good camaraderie among cadets, and produces only the finest Air Force officers.
Why Detachment 535? The choice is simple. No one can offer a wider selection of academic programs and paths to success than Syracuse University or one of our cross town schools below. Nestled in the hills of Central New York, Air Force ROTC at SU is the perfect way to set yourself up for success after graduation. The potential is for more than just a great career, but to do great things alongside even greater people.
Located at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, AFROTC is a program designed to train cadets to be commissioned officers of the United States Air Force. Here at SU, we pride ourselves on having a meticulously designed training environment which gives meaning to the Air Force’s core values, fosters good camaraderie among cadets, and produces the finest Air Force officers.
Why Detachment 535?
The choice is simple. No one can offer a wider selection of academic programs and paths to success than Syracuse University or one of our cross-town schools (see below). Nestled in the hills of Central New York, Air Force ROTC at SU is the perfect way to set yourself up for success after graduation. The potential is far more than just a great career but to do great things alongside even greater people.
Become a Cross-town Cadet
If you attend or plan to attend any of these schools below, then you can participate in AFROTC at Syracuse University as a cross-town cadet. There is no extra registration costs to attend military training courses on the SU campus.
Cazenovia College , Columbia College , Hamilton College , Le Moyne College , Mohawk Valley Community College , Morrisville State College , Onondaga Community College , SUNY Environmental Science & Forestry , SUNY Oswego , SUNY Polytechnic Institute , SUNY Upstate Medical , Utica College