For University of Maryland Global Campus’s 75th anniversary, we spoke with Kelly Wilmeth about some of her favorite experiences and where she hopes to see the university in years to come. Wilmeth is the vice president of UMGC's Stateside Military Operations. In this role, she is responsible for UMGC's staff and operations on military installations across the country and for overseeing UMGC's outreach to and growth among the military and veteran population. Wilmeth began her career with UMGC in 2009 while stationed in Korea with her husband. She is honored that her career in higher education provides her the opportunity to help servicemembers, veterans, and military spouses achieve their academic goals and career aspirations.
How long have you been working with UMGC?
Which UMGC location do you work at? Have you worked at other UMGC locations during your tenure here?
I've worked in all three UMGC divisions: Regional Director of UMGC in Korea, Vice President and Director of UMGC Europe, and Vice President of Stateside Military Operations.
During your time at UMGC, how have you seen the university evolve and change? What is the most significant change you have witnessed at the university?
The most significant change I’m proud to be a part of is our Global Military Operations, which has brought consistency and improvement to the student experience across all military campuses. It has also provided relocation opportunities for our staff, allowing them the flexibility to maintain employment no matter where they are in the world.
What has been your favorite part about working at UMGC?
Being able to work for all three divisions within UMGC.
Can you name some UMGC faculty/staff members (or even students/alumni) who impacted your career here at UMGC?
Dr. William Beck, former Director of UMGC Asia, Lloyd "Milo" Miles, current SVP of GMO, James Cronin, VP of UMGC Asia, and Michael Freedman, SVP of Communications.
UMGC is celebrating 75 years of excellence in education. What does that history mean to you? Why is it important?
Because UMGC was founded as an educational institution to serve the military, I feel that UMGC has established an incredible legacy of commitment to serving our nation's heroes and their families during times of peace and war. As a military spouse married to an army officer who served our nation for 30 years, this makes me feel incredibly proud. No other educational institution can claim this legacy.
Which of UMGC core values resonates with you the most and why? (Students First, Accountability, Diversity, Integrity, Excellence, Innovation, Respect, or People Always)
People Always is the one that resonates with me. If an organization does not take care of its people, its people will not be able to carry out its mission, which in our case is putting students first by making education affordable, attainable, and accessible.
UMGC recently introduced its new mission “Inspire hope, empower dreams, and transform lives ... one student at a time.” What does that mean to you?
So many people in our country do not have access to higher education and/or do not have the support they need to achieve their educational goals. Earning a college degree not only transforms individual lives, but it also transforms generations. There is nothing more powerful than watching the joy, pride, and respect that appear on the faces of the graduate and their loved ones, family, and friends as they walk across the stage at commencement. This symbolic event is the culmination of years of hard work, sweat, joy, tears, etc., but the generational impact goes on for decades.
How do you feel about UMGC’s role in supporting the military, wherever they are?
It is the one thing in my professional life that makes me the proudest. It is an incredible mission, and the commitment that UMGC has made for 75 years is an inspirational story that I love sharing with family and friends and am proud to be a part of for the past 12 years.
If you had one word to describe your experience at UMGC, what would it be and why?
Transformational — I would not be the person or leader that I am today without the opportunities I have been provided at UMGC to work all over the world, exposed to different cultures, trusted with incredible responsibility, and be part of a mission that is bigger than just myself.
Where do you hope to see UMGC in the next 75 years?
I hope to see that UMGC has sustained its commitment to serve military and veteran students and their families by providing both educational and career opportunities at UMGC.