Silver to Gold: Michigan Tech's Attention to Veterans Nets Upgrade in Rankings
"It's great to have good support after your service. I was helped the whole way through. "
Alumnus and staff member Allan Ollanketo was stationed as an EM2 on the USS Tarawa before he came to Michigan Tech. The institutional analysis coordinator was an honored guest at Wednesday's ceremony elevating the University from silver- to gold-level status as a Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Veteran-Friendly School.
Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz told Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director Jim Redford that one of the most touching moments of every commencement ceremony is the ROTC commissioning.
Redford noted that during his 28 years of active and reserve duty he served with a lot of Michigan Tech naval officers who went through the NROTC program here.
"They were outstanding sailors, outstanding engineers and outstanding patriots," he said.
What did it take to jump from good to great? It's a matter of satisfying seven matrixes, said Redford. Previously Michigan Tech hit four benchmarks. It's now satisfying all seven. Michigan Tech VA School Certifying Official Kathy Pintar took care of documentation, which includes having an on-campus veteran's coordinator, an active veteran's organization, military education credits, a range of counseling, health, and housing services, and veteran-specific job placement.
There are currently 46 veterans receiving VA benefits and nine service members on campus.
"We have a lot of children of veterans receiving the GI Bill, as well as veterans," Pintar noted.
"Michigan Tech is one of the country's finest universities. It sets a standard for all the universities in our state," Redford said, passing out the Director's Coin for Exemplary Service to Ollanketo, Pintar and Mroz along with key members of Michigan Tech's leadership team including Dean of Students Bonnie Gorman, Provost Jackie Huntoon, and Career Services Director Steve Patchin.
"We're proud veterans would choose us—after they've given so much, that they would put their education in our hands," Mroz said. "My dad was a vet. I think he would be proud of what we're doing here."