Jared Lyon, president and CEO of Student Veterans of America, and His Journey to Syracuse University and Beyond

Jared Lyon G’13, president and CEO of Student Veterans of America (SVA), has dedicated his life to ensuring that student veterans and military-connected students achieve their greatest potential through higher education. His journey began in 2001 when he joined the U.S. Navy.

Jarod Lyon
Jared Lyon delivering his remarks aboard the USS Intrepid on Nov. 11, 2020 as part of his service as the grand marshal of the New York City Veterans Day Salute.

“I had an intense desire to be part of something bigger than myself,” Lyon says. “I joined the Navy in August of 2001 during peacetime. All of that changed after 9/11 while I was in bootcamp. At a time when many in my generation were wondering what they could do to help, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be.”

Lyon served for four years on a submarine contract, primarily as a battlestations helmsman and diver aboard the U.S.S. Alexandria, a nuclear attack submarine. Following his active duty service, he joined Northrop Grumman in a defense contracting position while attending community college full-time at night.

Lyon met Randy Blass, an Air Force veteran who told him about a new initiative for veterans and military families coming to Syracuse University.

“Dr. Blass told me about this interdisciplinary research institute—what is now the Institute for Veterans and Military Families—that was going to be led by his colleague Dr. Mike Haynie [vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation and executive director of IVMF],” Lyon says. “Back then in 2011, a lot of people were talking about what they wanted to do for veterans in our country. Dr. Haynie was putting action behind his words and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

Blass told Lyon about an open position on Haynie’s new team—an opportunity to manage national programs for Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) and Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families (EBV-F), two programs that provide training in entrepreneurship and small business management. While Lyon was excited about the position, he almost didn’t apply.