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Veterans in search of an education mobilize at USC

The number of military personnel grows as the university improves its services for members of the armed forces

color guard and national anthem ceremony
A Color Guard stands at attention at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Photo/Pierson Clair)

Service members receive a hero’s welcome at USC, making it little wonder they’re marching to campus by the battalion.

More than 1,000 active military personnel, veterans and their family members are currently enrolled in degree programs at the university; another 163 students are cadets and midshipmen in USC’s three long-standing ROTC programs. Across the university, about 1 in every 40 Trojans has an armed forces affiliation.

The USC School of Social Work alone currently enrolls 445 military-affiliated Trojans in its master’s specialization in military social work. Over the summer, the Master of Business for Veterans program at the USC Marshall School of Business admitted its third cohort of 51 outstanding men and women. The yearlong executive program is designed to translate leadership skills acquired in armed service to the business arena.

USC Veterans Association members

Trojans in the student-run USC Veterans Association gather by Tommy Trojan. (Photo/Janet Park)

Other Trojan military mobilizations during 2015:

  • USC awarded 283 Yellow Ribbon grants to student-veterans, representing a nearly 20 increase over last year. Worth $2.5 million in total student aid, these USC grants are matched by $5 million in Veterans Administration funding. Under the program, participating academic departments award up to $10,000 per student to help offset educational expenses not covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
  • Each incoming Trojan warrior-scholar got a personal welcome from Veterans Resource Center staff attending orientation this year. As the fall semester got underway, the new center anticipated student-veteran needs with monthly workshops. The first two installments: a rundown of assistive technologies and services available through USC’s Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity; and résumé-writing tips for translating military achievements into civilian terms, led by the Career Center.
  • USC’s Alumni Veterans Network, launched just last spring, grew to more than 500 members in 2015. Recent events included a tour of USC’s military-affiliated Institute for Creative Technologies and a Veteran’s Day program on the future of military and commercial drones, featuring live demostrations and industry speakers.
  • New this year was the Warrior-Scholar Project, a weeklong academic boot camp for service members transitioning to four-year colleges. USC was one of 11 top universities to participate in the nationwide program. Working under USC humanities faculty, 14 veterans from Southland community colleges came to campus in August, honing their critical-reading and analytical-writing skills on classical and modern texts.
  • Provost’s Pre-College Summer Scholarships brought 22 teenagers from military families to Los Angeles for transformative month-long campus experiences. First offered in 2014, the grants cover all USC Summer Program expenses, including housing, meals and air transportation. Nearly half the participating youths traveled from military bases in Germany and Italy.
  • USC Bridges to Success trained 12 veteran-entrepreneurs in marketing, strategic planning and the government procurement process. A collaboration between USC’s Minority Business Development Agency and several city of Los Angeles departments, the 10-week program — which has served minority-owned businesses since 1996 — expanded its mission to serve veterans in 2014.
  • Marking its 14th annual Joint Forces Day Celebration, the Athletic Department handed out 10,000 free Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum seats to regional military bases and veterans organizations, and offered unlimited 2-for-1 prices to all Armed Forces personnel attending game two of the Trojan football season. The Sept. 12 matchup against Idaho also marked USC’s third annual Wounded Warrior Weekend, a collaboration with the Los Angeles Fire Department. Also back this year are USC’s Hero of the Game tributes, recognizing an active or retired service member at each home football game.

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Veterans in search of an education mobilize at USC

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