Gonzaga has always been known for its ROTC and veteran programs on campus and now with a "Military Friendly School" designation more people will have the opportunity to add GU to their list of prospective schools to look into while making their college decision.

This award acknowledges the effort set forth by GU to provide for military members and their families.

“This award is a validation of Gonzaga’s campus-wide and continuous effort to support the educational pursuit of military-connected students and their families,” Audrey Minton, senior transfer counselor at GU admissions, said in an email.

Schools with this designation are picked by VIQTORY, disabled veterans' business, who offers many military designations to a variety of schools. These consist of education and employment, while maintaining a goal of providing support and connections for current, transitioning and veteran military members.

The award has been in place for 10 years.

GU received this award after submitting a survey that provides information of how the school supports its military members.

“Essentially, the Military Friendly School designation is the result of an extensive survey submitted by the University to provide data on how we support military-connected students, such as veterans, military dependents, and spouses,” Minton said.

The process to get the designation is long with many hoops to jump through. According to the GU website, out of 1,000 schools that applied for this designation only 625 schools were awarded with the Military Friendly designation, each state being represented.

“Upon submission of the 118-question survey, an advisory board for the Military Friendly Schools organization reviews information in three categories – public data, institutional data (the survey) and personal reviews from military-connected members,” Minton said. “The information collected is then processed by an algorithm, reviewed by a legal body and then designations are released annually.”

The faculty at GU helps make the transition easy from military to student life, said Colin Gregory, former Air Force member and GU student.

“My experience has been great,” Gregory said. “I would definitely recommend veterans come to GU.”

The Military Friendly designation helps prospective students looking at GU for ROTC and former military members.

“Many veterans are seeking a resource-rich learning environment that supports their academic and personal needs,” Minton said. “Having the honor of being one of 16 Washington State institutions (2-year and 4-year) listed as Military Friendly, may lead to increased interest and prospective student-veteran inquiry at Gonzaga.”

Although Minton said this does not directly affect the ROTC program at GU it helps emphasize the commitment GU has to military persons.

Prospective students are able to notice GU and recognize the resources and support it has to offer for its military community.

“I think the designation is well deserved for GU based on my experience here. I also think it will attract other veterans who plan on attending college in the area,” Gregory said.

Gonzaga has done a lot to provide for its military community and make sure they are providing the best care, said Colleen Vandenboom, assistant dean of student involvement and leadership, on the GU website.

The GU website said it has included military graduation ceremonies, an increase in the affiliation with national veteran programs, and training for GU faculty in military culture.

Gregory said GU also offers many events for veterans to make them feel at home during their time in Spokane. These events range from documentaries on campus, Veterans Day ceremonies, a lunch in with the President of the university, and planned get-togethers.

The list of all schools awarded with this designation will be posted in the May issue of G.I Jobs magazine or can be found www.militaryfriendly.com.

Hannah Hislop is a staff writer.

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