Assisting more than 3,000 student veterans and veteran dependents can be busy, but for Student Veteran Services at University of North Texas it’s an opportunity to help veterans transition into college life at UNT and into the workplace.
The Texas Veterans Commission recently awarded University of North Texas with the Gold Veterans Education Excellence Recognition Award (VEERA) for their excellence in providing education and related services to veterans and the military-connected community (Tex. Govt. Code § 434.252).
UNT’s Student Veteran Services applied for recognition and showcased its commitment toward ensuring the academic success of these individuals for Academic Year 2022-2023.
“We are honored to receive the state VEERA award for the second consecutive year,” said James Davenport, director of Student Veteran Services. “This recognition, and awards like it, allows us the opportunity to highlight the programs and support we offer our veteran students and their families.”
When student veterans apply and enroll at UNT, they are welcomed by Davenport who hosts several veteran-specific orientation sessions. The administration associated with veteran benefits can be sometimes daunting. Davenport and his team, who are primarily veterans or their dependents, guide students throughout the process, pointing them to helpful resources and opportunities, whether enrollment support, scholarship opportunities or networking events.
Student Veteran Services offers a wide range of programs. There’s the SALUTE Honor Society, a veteran-specific graduation ceremony, Student Veteran Association and Omega Delta Sigma, a national co-ed veteran and military fraternity. A common area in Sage Hall is specifically designated for student veterans, giving them a space where they can gather, meet, share similar experiences and even game. The department also collaborates with UNT’s Career Center to connect student veterans with employers.
One of the most recent accomplishments is the new Student Veteran Service Endowment given by the Denton chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). The endowment creates a $1,000 scholarship to be given each year to a UNT student veteran. The endowment joins Student Veteran Services’ other scholarships, including the Emergency Scholarship Fund. The emergency fund can help students with university-related fees and more such as rent and car repairs.
“This is also the first year we were awarded the Military Spouse Friendly award, which I’m really proud of,” Davenport said. “UNT stands out among our veteran community, and I’m thankful for the support the university gives our office.”
The Texas Veterans Commission evaluates applications on a variety of criteria that highlight the various education and ancillary services offered by an institution, and which contribute greatly to the overall success of veteran students and their families. Criteria included opportunities like a centralized place for student veterans to meet and find assistance, new student orientation, mental health and disability services, and career services, among others.
Since 1927, the mission of the Texas Veterans Commission has been to advocate for and provide superior service to veterans that will significantly improve the quality of life for all Texas veterans, their families, and survivors.