Wilkes University has once again been designated a Military Friendly® School by Viqtory Media, parent company of G.I. Jobs magazine. It is the ninth consecutive year that Wilkes has been named to the list, which recognizes the colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to support America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as students and after graduation.
The Military Friendly® Schools list is created each year based on extensive research using public data sources for more than 8,800 schools nationwide, input from student veterans, and responses to the proprietary, data-driven Military Friendly® Schools survey from participating institutions. This year, 766 schools received the designation.
“Those who have never served in the military can best aid their country by supporting those who have. I am incredibly proud to be the president of a university that educates veterans and their family members,” said University President Patrick F. Leahy.
Lt. Col. Mark Kaster (retired), Wilkes University’s veterans counselor, said earning the designation reflects a campus culture dedicated to serving veterans.
“Wilkes University’s designation as a Military Friendly School for nine straight years is truly an honor. The extraordinary dedication of Wilkes’ administration, faculty, and staff to our veterans and dependents of veterans is the reason Wilkes continues to earn this honor,” Kaster said. “The University truly lives up to its outstanding reputation of supporting our veterans in every facet of their education, every day. Working with our great Wilkes’ team to provide the excellent educational foundation for our veterans and their families is truly humbling for me.”
The Military Friendly® School designation comes as a result of several veteran initiatives at Wilkes designed to aid in the transition to academic life:
- A dedicated veterans affairs counselor, retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Kaster, who works with veterans as they enroll at the University.
- The Wilkes Student Veterans Council, which provides programming to help members of the military transition to the civilian world. Council members also support service projects related to the military, such as sending care packages overseas.
- The Veterans Center of Excellence, located on campus in Conyngham Hall, which offers a place where veterans can meet and study. Programs to assist veterans also are provided at the center.
- The Inter-Organizational Veteran Educational Support Team (INVEST), which connects Wilkes and community partners who can help mitigate risk factors that hinder veteran persistence in higher education.
Wilkes also had two consecutive honorees of the Pat Tillman Foundation. Student Dana Hatwig was named a Tillman Scholar in 2018. Hatwig, of Jacksonville, Fla., is pursuing her master of science in nursing as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. In 2017, alumnus Jason Homza was recognized as a student at the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Homza earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wilkes.
Institutions earning the Military Friendly ® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey completed by the school.
Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by VIQTORY with input from
the Military Friendly® Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for Student Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence (Degree Advancement or Transfer) and Loan Default Rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.
For more information about Wilkes University’s commitment to attract and support military students, visit www.wilkes.edu.