Troy University and the U.S. Military: A Tradition of Service

Posted: Tuesday, 06 January 2014

Troy University has a long history of service to the men and women of the United States military.

The University's tradition of military service has its roots in 1950, when it began offering extension courses at Fort Rucker. Later, these operations were expanded to Maxwell Air Force Base and these centers became the forerunner to what is known today as Global Campus, the division of the University that operates teaching sites outside the state of Alabama and internationally. In 1974, TROY established its first international sties in Europe in contract with the U.S. Air Force.

While the ties to the military have always been strong, Troy University has taken recent steps that help to ensure service to active duty service members, veterans and dependents receive the attention and responsiveness they need and deserve.

In 2012, the Troy University Board of Trustees undertook a new initiative, the TROY for Troops Center, designed to support military and veterans students' academic and career success.

"Troy University is proud of its rich history of service to the United States military and this center serves as another example of this commitment," said Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor. "It's our mission to serve, and we love serving men and women who service this country."

Headed by Associate Vice Chancellor for Military Affairs Dave Barron, a retired U.S. Navy captain, the Center serves as a one-stop center where military students, both online and in-classroom, can access a variety of University services ranging from financial aid, advisement and counseling to problem resolution.

"Our service members have sacrificed for each of us and we firmly believe our commitment to them should be to help them achieve academic success and support their successful transition into civilian life when their service is complete," Barron said.

The TROY for Troops Center offers a variety of services and is a part of the University's daily efforts to ensure military students have every opportunity to succeed. More than 6,000 current TROY students serve or have served in the military, Barron said.

"We ask the question, 'What have you done for a veteran today?'" he said. "We work on it daily. We have a Vet Success on Campus Counselor with us full time, one of two in the state of Alabama. We truly are a University dedicated to the success of active duty men and women, reservists, veterans and their families."

It is that type of dedication to service that consistently draws accolades from outside organizations. In November, Military Times named Troy University as one of the top "Best for Vets" four-year institutions in the country.

The organization publishes the "Army Times," the "Navy Times," the "Air Force Times," and the "Marine Corps Times" newspapers, and is owned by Gannett Co., Inc., one of the nation's largest media companies.

Military Times has also recognized several of the University's degree programs with its "Best for Vets" designation. Earlier in 2014, TROY was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 20 Best Colleges for Veterans in the region, as well as receiving recognition for its online nursing, education and business programs.

While rankings by external agencies provide validation for the University's efforts, further evidence of TROY's service can be seen in its alumni. More than 60 TROY alumni serve as general or flag-rank officers or as members of the Senior Executive Service of all four branches of the U.S. military. Over the past 30 years, 123 TROY alumni have retired as general or flag-rank officers from all branches.

In September, three-time TROY graduate Bennie G. Adkins, a retired U.S. Army Command Sergeant, received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Vietnam.

In addition, several members of the University's senior leadership team are themselves veterans, including Chancellor Hawkins, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam. Dr. Hawkins has also served as chair of the Board of Visitors for Air University, housed at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, and currently serves as a member of the Board of Visitors of Marine Corps University.

"At TROY, our values have been shaped by that sense of patriotism, that sense of service, that relationship with the Military, and we're very proud of all those thousands upon thousands of graduates who have worn that uniform."