Xavier Launches Veteran Affairs Office

Honored as a military-friendly school in August | November 11, 2009


In recognition of the tremendous sacrifices made by veterans of our armed forces and their families, Xavier University is expanding its efforts to attract and support them. Xavier announces the formation of a new Veteran Affairs Office.
The Veterans Administration Post 9/11 G.I. Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals honorably discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. The Post-9/11 GI Bill became effective for training on or after August 1, 2009.
The Bill is the most comprehensive education benefit package since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944. For the first time, private institutions such as Xavier can offer veterans educational opportunity funded fully through G.I. Bill educational benefits. The VA approximates there are 2 million eligible veterans.
As a Yellow Ribbon School, Xavier University is able to cover the entire cost of tuition for eligible Veterans. In addition, eligible Veterans would receive a monthly housing allowance and an allowance for books each year.
Xavier’s new Veteran Affairs Office has two primary functions. The first is to promote Xavier University as a military-friendly institution both locally and nationally, attracting veterans to all university colleges and departments.  Second, it will provide support and resources to the current population of students who are veterans, and develop initiatives to support this growing population as they attend Xavier as students and then as alumni.
Xavier University was named by G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School for 2010. This honor ranks Xavier in the top 15% of all colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide. As a Military Friendly School, it is included with a basic listing in the Guide to Military Friendly Schools, published in September, 2009.   Over 8 million military members and veterans are seeking a college and this award recognizes Xavier’s commitment to educating the nation’s most deserving heroes.
“Clearly you have an interest in recruiting military students,” says publisher Rich McCormack, “and I urge you to continue your already stellar efforts improving the policies, efforts and results used to recruit and retain military and veteran students.”  
VAO expands on the work of a number of people, including Dr. Mary Kay Meyer, director of advising services in Xavier’s Center for Adult and Part time Students (CAPS), Barb Garand, CAPS advisor, the entire CAPS staff, and Mike Svihlik, information services specialist in the Registrar’s office. Xavier’s decision to become a Yellow Ribbon School and a member of the Servicemen’s Opportunities College Consortium demonstrates its commitment to be a veteran-friendly, supportive university.
The new office will be developed and led by David Keszei, a graduate of the Executive MBA program in Xavier’s Williams College of Business. He developed and led the office of Corporate Connections and the MBA Professional Development Center in the Williams College. Keszei spent over two decades as an active and reserve officer in the United States Marine Corps. For the last seven years, Keszei has developed programs for the Marine Corps and the Department of Defense to help veterans and their families transition back to civilian life. He is married to the former Stacy Biernacki, Xavier MBA 2000, and they have a daughter, Jasmine Xavier Keszei.
"As a Xavier alum and former Marine officer,” says Keszei, “I could not be more proud of Xavier for their continued support of Veterans and their families and I am grateful for the opportunity to develop and lead this new office."
Xavier has offered military instruction on campus since 1877. Xavier’s Military Science/ROTC program is nationally-recognized among the 272 ROTC programs nationwide and has earned numerous General MacArthur Awards in recognition of successful cadet training, performance and GPA.
Keszei can be reached at 513-745-3620. The VAO website is: http://www.xavier.edu/caps/Programs-for-Veterans.cfm