G.I. Jobs magazine named Azusa Pacific University a Military Friendly School for the 2012–13 school year, positioning the university in the top 15 percent of U.S. educational institutions that provide the best services to help educate America’s veterans. G.I. Jobs, setting the standard for ranking America’s most “military-friendly” schools, considered more than 12,000 schools for the title, choosing to recognize APU for its outstanding efforts in providing military students with quality programs, discounts, scholarships, clubs, networking, and staff support.
“Military students and veterans are valuable assets to any academic institution because they bring a different perspective and unique leadership skills to the classroom,” said reservist United States Air Force Lt. Col. Vic Bezjian, DBA, executive director of military and veterans resources. “APU is committed to serving those who serve our country, and it is an honor to be recognized as a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs.”
Demonstrating a commitment to growing its veterans program, APU established the Office of Military and Veterans Outreach with the primary goal of recruiting and enrolling new students. Over the last year, the number of veteran students at APU increased by 38 percent. The recent addition of the Office of Military and Veterans
Resources rounds out the program by assisting veterans as they transition into life as a college student. “APU’s friendly faculty and staff want students to succeed,” said former Army Staff Sgt. Matt Blain, a junior business administration major. “The veterans office helped me with my benefits, and I found a great support system through the on-campus veterans group.”
In addition to aiding recruitment, enrollment, and smooth transitions, APU Veterans Affairs also serves military members and their families by assisting with educational benefits. As a Yellow Ribbon university, APU offers student veterans scholarship funds to help cover the unmet portion of tuition costs. This comprehensive attention to the unique needs of veterans facilitates a strong sense of loyalty and belonging among the students. “The community at APU has been very welcoming toward the veterans here,” said former Navy Petty Officer Dave Montoya, a senior business major. Last year, Montoya and fellow veteran student Michael Burroughs ’12 founded the Veterans Club on campus, with the support of Terry Franson, Ph.D., senior vice president for student life and dean of students; Chuck Strawn, director of the Office of Communiversity; Bezjian; and his wife Ilene Bezjian, DBA, dean of the School of Business and Management. “The creation of the Veterans Club is just one example of how supportive the university as a whole has been to the veteran community,” said Montoya. “I’m so thankful that we have a place like APU.”