[ skip to content ]

News @ ODU

ODU Hosting First Statewide Conference to Address Student Veteran Needs on Virginia College Campuses

klevings-kathleen-levingstonKathleen Levingston

U.S. military members who have served tours of duty in some of the most dangerous places on earth are returning home. Many have made a decision to obtain higher education degrees.

While schools nationwide have increased efforts to support these military-connected students, there is a need for greater collaboration and coordination across institutions to better ensure success for student veterans. To that end, Old Dominion University is hosting the first statewide conference aimed at addressing the complex needs of student veterans.

"Stairway to Success: Utilizing your Resources" will be held at ODU's Ted Constant
Convocation Center on Friday, Nov. 22, co-sponsored by ODU's Military Connection Center and Student Veterans Association.

"We have been working in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services to plan this important event, which will be directly in line with Gov. McDonnell's goal to have an active Student Veterans Association chapter at every college and university in Virginia," said Kathleen Levingston, director of ODU's Military Connection Center.

"As the faculty adviser for our student veterans and the director of our new Military Connection Center on campus, I am excited to host this inaugural conference."

James Hopper, Virginia's secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, will appear at the event. Other speakers will include D. Wayne Robinson, executive director with Student Veterans of America, and former Navy SEAL Jason C. Redman, an ODU graduate and president and founder of Wounded Wear, a nonprofit organization designed to provide clothing kits and clothing modifications to America's wounded warriors.

The goals of the conference are:

  • Gain appreciation for the unique needs of veterans in higher education to be able to better target and meet the needs of this unique population;
  • Learn how to better recruit and retain student veterans;
  • Explore best practices from well-established Student Veterans Associations and administrative supporters; and
  • Help schools without formal organizations to build a student group on their campuses.

For more information or to register, see the conference website.

ODU's Military Connection Center was created to help the university's substantial military-affiliated population in a variety of ways. For the past four years, G.I. Jobs, the premier magazine for military personnel transitioning to civilian life, has recognized ODU as a "Military Friendly" institution. Nearly 25 percent of the university's student body has a direct connection to the U.S. military.