The Vessey Virtual Student Union is a digital communication and networking tool designed exclusively for the University of Maryland Global Campus military and veteran community. Available to veterans as well as transitioning members of the military who are planning to separate within the next two years, it is a great resource for academic information, career opportunities, networking opportunities, advising, and more.
Join the more than 6,500 users who are already taking advantage of what the Vessey Virtual Student Union has to offer. For more information, please contact the Office of Veterans Initiatives and Outreach at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An alumnus of UMGC, General John W. Vessey, Jr. was one of our military’s finest.
His military career began when he enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard in 1939. His unit was activated just prior to America's entry into World War II. Vessey's service took him to North Africa, where his unit took a strategic hill near Tunis at a critical juncture in the allied campaign, then to Italy, where his unit saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the war, then to Korea during the tense aftermath of that war, and then to Vietnam, where he was wounded defending a firebase from onrushing Viet Cong invaders for which he won a Distinguished Service Cross.
By 1963, Vessey had become a lieutenant colonel. That same year, he graduated from UMGC with a bachelor's degree in military science. He served as vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army from 1979 to 1982, when he was appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by then President Ronald Reagan, making him the highest-ranking military officer in the country.
When he retired in 1985 after 46 years of service, he was the longest-serving active member of the U.S. Army. Vessey was a lifelong advocate of education who patterned his own life after a lecture that he first heard discussed in a UMGC classroom. The lecture was "The Five Evidences of an Education," by Nicholas Murray Butler.
Established in 2012, the General John W. Vessey, Jr. Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to degree-seeking undergraduate students and gives preference to Purple Heart recipients, active-duty servicemembers and their immediate families, military personnel who are transitioning to civilian life, and students who demonstrate financial need. The scholarship is available to eligible students through our donor scholarship process.