Published in the May/June 2011 issue of print Search & Employ® |
Nate Davis didn’t have a degree on his mind when he attended a leadership boot camp a few years back at Xavier University, but the school’s current director of military affairs was sold on the program by his predecessor, Dave Keszei.
“He basically told me that the program was built for people like me,” Davis said. “And since it is a Yellow Ribbon school, I wouldn’t have to pay anything out of pocket. I jumped on it.”
That was just a few years ago. In October, Davis stepped in as the acting director of military affairs. In January of this year, he became the full-time director of the program.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said the separated Marine who served eleven months in Iraq and four years overall. “Dave guided me all the way here. I appreciate the time he took to mentor me. He guided me and now I want to help do the same.”
Founded in 1831, Xavier University is a Jesuit, Catholic university in Cincinnati. Its three colleges offer 83 undergraduate majors, 52 minors, and 11 graduate programs to 7,019 students, including 4,368 undergraduates. It has been recognized as one of the top ten universities in the Midwest for the last 16 years by U.S. News & World Report, including a rank of third for 2011. It was also named among “The Best 373 Colleges” in America by The Princeton Review and is ranked first for having the best graduation rate among the Midwest master’s-level colleges and universities.
As a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium, Xavier is dedicated to helping active-service military and veterans and their families get college degrees. As a Yellow Ribbon school, Xavier University and the Department of Veterans Affairs will cover the tuition and fees of fully eligible Chapter 33 Post- 9/11 GI Bill students—including both undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, fully eligible students will receive a monthly housing stipend and a yearly stipend for books (NOTE: The Yellow Ribbon program will not cover the entire cost of the MBA off-site programs or the Executive MBA program).
Davis, who will finish one degree this fall and begin another in education administration soon after, believes that Xavier’s personal attention that sets the university apart. “We treat every student here like they are the only student,” Davis said. “At schools where this isn’t done, a vet can feel like a number. That won’t happen here. There are times when I’ll wait for military students after one of their classes or send them an email just so I can check in with them and see how classes are going. We also pair up veterans with other veterans, because veterans understand each other and they embrace the mentorship relationship.”
Davis understands that the academic world can be daunting to veterans. “It can be a challenge, especially going from something like the military that has such a defined purpose and camaraderie,” he said. “We’re creating the same sense of belonging here at Xavier, and I know that military students have the drive to succeed. They have the discipline that’s needed, they can operate on any level, they never give up, they are leaders, and are mature. Teachers love all of that.”
Davis believes that Xavier is at the tip of the spear when it comes to programs for the military. He’s proud that its veterans’ affairs program is doing things like helping nearby Miami University create its own veterans program. “The bottom line is that we want the best for all veterans,” Davis said. “We believe we have the best program in the country, one that will be a bridge to the rest of a veteran’s life. I feel like I can be in no better place, and I want the same for all veterans.”