Office of Student Veteran Engagement

A NEW OFFICE CREATED TO SUPPORT OUR STUDENT VETERANS
Service is in our DNA. Alumni have served the nation in top military leadership positions stretching from the American Revolution to Afghanistan. We honor those who have served. We have made progress in understanding the special challenges faced by our student veterans and we know that we need to do more.

Student veterans bring an important diversity of experience and perspective to campus, they work hard, they are leaders and they are high achievers. But they face challenges. They are older, they often have family responsibilities, many are adjusting from recent combat, and they have been away from a formal academic setting. They often come with government financial support, but that is inadequate to cover their expenses.

The Office will support veteran student organizations, connect veterans with resources on and off campus to help with applications, GI bill benefits, transferability of courses and other support services, and assist in finding internship and employment opportunities. It will coordinate initiatives across all schools and programs, work to expand veteran enrollment, and seek support for those and other university veteran programs. The Center will mobilize the large untapped potential of external support for those efforts.

Recent successes such as expanding enrollment in student veteran organizations, conducting Green Zone training for staff and faculty to improve understanding of veteran issues, the identification of scholarship and internship opportunities and coordination of university-wide Veterans Day activities have all been achieved by volunteers. The Office will convert those initial volunteer efforts into a coordinated, sustained campaign to make William & Mary truly veteran friendly and a model for other universities.

William & Mary recognizes the unique value and needs of our student veterans and the opportunities to be even more veteran friendly. The creation of the Office for Student Veteran Engagement is part of broader efforts to promote leadership in public service, including initiatives with the military and intelligence communities.

INAUGURAL DIRECTOR SELECTED TO LEAD NEW OFFICE

Charlie Foster, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and William & Mary graduate, has been selected as William & Mary’s inaugural director of the Office of Student Veteran Engagement. Foster most recently served as Veteran Liaison for the Troops to Teachers Virginia Center, while also serving as Co-chair for William & Mary’s Military and Veteran Affairs Working Group.

Foster earned his Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration from William & Mary, focusing on student veterans’ transition from the military into higher education. His master’s thesis examined the history of military members stationed at William & Mary during World War II, as well as veterans who attended immediately after the war.

Foster enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after September 11th, 2001, serving as a Combat Correspondent. He went through the transition to higher education himself when he separated from the military and attended Berea College to study English.

In the new role, Foster will lead the effort to position W&M as a leader in military and veteran education. As advisor to students, Foster will connect veterans with comprehensive campus resources, including help with applications, GI bill benefits, transferability of courses and other support services, and assistance with internships and employment opportunities. Foster will work with colleagues to identify and coordinate opportunities across all schools and programs, work to expand active-duty military and veteran enrollment, and seek external support for those and other university veteran initiatives. Foster will coordinate the activities of an Advisory Council, including student, faculty, staff and alumni members, and work with them to develop innovative approaches to helping student veterans.

The new office will be located on the main floor of the Sadler Center. Foster may be reached at ctfoster@wm.edu.