February 1, 2011
Press Release #11-028
St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Joseph R. Urgo joined his counterparts from area higher education institutions Monday, January 31, to sign a compact to improve on-campus services for veteran students. The Maryland Campus Compact for Student Veterans calls on Maryland’s higher education community to do more for the men and women who served in the military and seeks to ensure their educational success through greater awareness and understanding of the unique challenges they face.
“St. Mary's College is pleased to join Maryland's higher education community in supporting access to education by veterans,” said Urgo. “We encourage any veteran interested in a liberal arts education to consider our programs and discuss opportunities with our faculty.” Currently, the college has 36 students receiving veteran’s benefits.
Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, a veteran himself, convened the meeting. “Veterans bring a unique maturity and life experience to the classroom – an experience that in most cases enhances classroom discussions and benefits every student’s learning,” he said. “But as each war is different, so is every generation of veteran. We have an obligation to serve those who served and we must do more to ease student veterans’ transitions from combat to campus.”
During his opening remarks, Brown cited a troubling essay published in the Community College of Baltimore County detailing a student veteran’s war experience and the college’s controversial, but necessary, decision to remove the student until a psychological evaluation could be performed as one of several catalysts to create the compact.
The compact requires campus officials to provide training for faculty, staff and student leadership to promote greater awareness of veteran issues. Today’s veterans face unique challenges. Studies show that one out of five veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. More than 22,000 Iraq-Afghanistan veterans have returned to Maryland in recent years.
St. Mary's College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. More than 2,000 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary's River in Southern Maryland.