Dave Keszei, who retired from the Marine Corps as a major after 22 years, created something new at Xavier University, a school founded in Cincinnati nearly 180 years ago. He’s the founder of the university’s first-ever Veterans Affairs Office. The university established the office to attract and support a growing number of military veterans returning to college under the GI Bill.
“The office has two main functions: Recruit veterans to colleges and departments at Xavier University; and support the existing veteran student and alumni populations,” said Keszei. “In addition, we offer support and assistance for veterans and their families with any VA benefit they might be trying to obtain. We offer a vet-to-vet mentoring program, veteran student group, and career development for veterans and their spouses.”
Keszei is a former F/A-18 Hornet pilot and a graduate of Xavier University’s Executive MBA program. He spent seven years developing programs for the Marine Corps and the Department of Defense to help veterans and their families transition back to civilian life.
Xavier’s three colleges offer 81 undergraduate majors, 45 minors, and 11 graduate programs to 6,966 students, including 4,228 undergraduates. The university is the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the nation, and one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities nationwide. U.S. News & World Report has recognized Xavier as one of the top ten universities in the Midwest for the last 15 years.
One of the reasons Keszei believes military students should consider Xavier is that the school will help the students when it comes time to search for jobs. “The job market for Xavier undergraduate and graduates is good and getting better,” he said. “As a nationally-ranked university with nationally ranked business schools, we have access to some of the top companies in the country for our students and alumni.”
Xavier University is also a member of the Servicemembers Opportunities Colleges. Veterans serve throughout the faculty, staff, and senior leadership. Xavier has been designated as a Yellow Ribbon School by the Veterans Administration, meaning that the entire cost of tuition is covered for eligible veterans. In addition, eligible veterans may receive a monthly housing allowance and an annual allowance for books.