Marine Corps veteran Nate Davis, director of Xavier’s Office of Veterans Affairs, delivered a message of hope for veterans and support for the Post 9/11 GI Bill at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Davis, invited by the Obama Campaign to speak for two minutes about the GI Bill, talked about how it made it possible for him to earn his degree from Xavier and how universities like Xavier are using it help returning veterans go to college.
"Because of the new GI Bill, I was able to attend an amazing university, Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Now that I have graduated, I have a job as director of veterans affairs at Xavier. The GI Bill keeps opening doors for me," he told the crowd.
"Eight hundred thousand vets have gone back to school on the GI Bill, a law President Obama championed in the senate and expanded as president. They've all earned it, and the President had their backs. Last year a guy told me thanks to the GI Bill benefits, he had a chance to go to college. He'd always told his daughters how important education was, but now he is showing them with his example."
He concluded his speech with a message for veterans: “Even if you’re having a hard time, don’t give up. Believe in God and keep going forward." A video of his speech can be viewed on C-SPAN.
In an interview videotaped earlier at his mother's home that played prior to his taking the convention stage at the Time Warner Cable Arena, Davis talked about the importance of military service and the value of the GI Bill for veterans.
Davis spent four years as an active-duty Marine, 11 months of which were in Iraq. He was in the Great Oaks Police Academy when he met the founder of the veterans affairs office who suggested he earn his degree at Xavier. He decided to attend on the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Now, as director of the Office of Veterans Affairs, he provides one-on-one help with the expertise of someone who understands both the military and college and the difficulty of transitioning back into civilian life. Xavier created the office in November 2009 to help recruit and retain the influx of veterans returning from the war and looking to take advantage of the new GI Bill’s educational benefit, which provides full tuition and a book stipend.
“We’re just trying to connect veterans, so they see their opportunities,” he said. “If our academic programs aren’t the right fit, we don’t just send the veteran away. The focus is on the veterans, so if it looks like another school is best for them, we help them get there.”
In accepting the invitation to speak at the convention, Davis said, “I'm not really sure why I was chosen to speak on a platform that will have the eyes of the world focused on it. But I accept it with great honor and humility.”
Xavier has been named a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine. The University participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program and works with veterans to offer financial aid. More information about the office is available at its website.