At University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC), we salute our veterans for their sacrifices and service to our country. In 1949, UMGC was the first university to send faculty overseas to educate active-duty military personnel in Europe. This Veterans Day, we’re sharing the experiences of students and staff who understand what it means to serve, both in the military and in civilian life.
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UMGC and students
Service has always been at the core of the U.S. military through the decades and the conflicts – it’s a mission that University of Maryland Global Campus shares with many of our students and staff.
VP and Dean, School of Integrative and Professional Studies, UMGC
My father enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor. You grow up with that and understanding, you know, the role of the military and how important that they are.
UMGC Graduate and Veteran
And it was also one of the best decisions that I've ever made to join
the US military. It was. And first and foremost, to serve my
I came from a family of service. My father was infantry in Vietnam. My grandfather was a pilot in World War Two. What was happening in the world always felt like the family business. So, I turned 18. A week later, I enlisted in the United States Army, and a month after I graduated, I was off, and I’d do it again.
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Starting after World War Two, UMGC was right there alongside the military … offering college classes around the globe.
We always took unusual pride in beginning classes in very out of the way, distant locations where there were only a few U.S. soldiers, whether that was in Australia, Moscow, Beijing, whether it was in the Balkans.
Former UMGC Faculty
I remember one of my colleagues described it as being in the education foreign legion. They were very, very dedicated to the work they were doing.
Being a military brat, it helped form the ideas of sacrifice, the fact that it's kind of a greater good.
It's important to put students first and they're the ones that are going to enrich their lives socially, economically, as well as career-wise, with one of the degrees that we provide.
UMGC Graduate and Veteran
I used the University and the GI bill to finish my four-year degree. In that process, I fell in love with the education process.
When Vernon Taylor joined the Army in the early 1970s, he was looking to transform his life, he didn’t know the military experience would propel him to a career of helping others transform theirs.
Something ingrained that says I will and want to give back, not only to those that I'm serving, but to the United States as a whole.
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That dedication to service led Taylor to help craft what is today known as the Joint Services Transcript. UMGC uses that to determine whether a student may obtain college credits for military experience – meaning they can reach their goal of a degree faster.
It makes me feel good that most people right now in the military, once they see that, it's an automatic accomplishment. They move forward on it. It's easy to start when you have some credits than absolutely nothing.
And that’s how I think overall that’s how you make the world a better place.
Director, Diversity and Equity Training,
I was born in a military hospital in Heidelberg, Germany. My father is Army. He served in the Army for 28 years.
For UMGC Staff member Patricia Jameson serving the military has been a lifelong job.
It's what I know. It's also giving back and supporting my colleagues.
Working with UMGC is important to me because we get to provide educational opportunities to service members here overseas away from home.
We can bring opportunities to our service members here that they otherwise might not have.
And I just can't imagine life without the military.
Veteran and Military Education Coordinator,
Being in the military, particularly when we are getting ready to deploy, is less to do about myself personally and more to do with, you know, the men and the women that I'm serving with my brothers and sisters. And it becomes about serving them as a means to, you know, better yourself.
Kellen Zitani had boots on the ground in 20 plus countries, including Japan, Iraq and Afghanistan. Since retiring, he’s been a teacher and now a military student advisor with UMGC.
If there's something that I've learned, it's that the most valuable thing we can be is just a good human being. If we lived a life where we put other people's needs first, this would just be a much better world.
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That sense of mission that started at UMGC more than 75 years ago – still shapes who we are and what we do every day.
Vice President and Director
So, I've been working with and for the military for my entire adult life. I kind of bleed UMGC and bleed the military. It's part of my DNA.
I fell in love with UMGC. It's like, you know, you get to serve the military. You get to serve the students.
Whether you serve in the military or whether you just do good deeds, I think having a servant's heart would really make this a better place for all of us.
UMGC thanks our military, veterans, and family members for their service.