In 1946, Syracuse University Chancellor William Pearson Tolley published an open letter addressed simply: “to returning war veterans.” In that letter, Tolley spoke directly to the nation’s veterans, suggesting that education was the path to realizing their post-war aspirations. Importantly, his words conveyed a commitment to action; in the years that followed World War II, Syracuse would welcome more than 10,000 veterans to its campus, effectively transforming the University into the institution it is today. Tolley’s commitment to support the nation’s veterans would forever change the life course of many thousands of American men and women, who would later go on to earn the moniker, the “Greatest Generation.”
Chancellor Tolley’s legacy is one that the University has honored with pride and action for more than 60 years – a commitment that was heightened when Kent Syverud was inaugurated as Syracuse University’s 12th Chancellor and President on April 11, 2014. In his inauguration address, Chancellor Syverud called upon the university community to aspire and act to make Syracuse University the nation’s “best” institution for military-connected students and staff – and my role as Vice Chancellor for Veteran and Military Affairs is to serve this bold vision and compelling objective.
Importantly however, our team is much more than one individual or one office. Instead our veterans, military-connected students, and staff benefit from the collective and collaborative resources of a broad array of people and programs, including a comprehensive Veterans Resource Center, dedicated career and student services programs, a robust Student Veteran Organization, and the institution’s partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs as a VetSuccess university. Even further, we continue to pursue opportunities to innovate in support of programs, processes, and best-in-class practices designed to propel the educational experience of our veterans, military-connected students, and their families.
Today, we stand poised to write the next chapter in the story that defines Syracuse University’s long-standing commitment to those who have worn the uniform of our nation. As a veteran myself, I could not ask for a more rewarding and personally gratifying opportunity than to serve my fellow veterans as Syracuse University’s Vice Chancellor for Veteran and Military Affairs. To that end, I look forward to the opportunity to serve and support our military-connected students, faculty, and staff, in a way that that empowers this and future generations of citizen soldiers to live happy, meaningful and productive lives. Go Orange!
J. Michael Haynie, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor, Veteran & Military Affairs