Honoring our heroes: Wilkes University designated as ‘Military Friendly School’

Patrick Walther, Staff Writer

Wyatt Sebring wakes up before the sun rises most days. It is not a personal choice he’s made, but rather a commitment to excellence. Sebring, a freshman and member of the Air Force ROTC program reports to physical training every morning in order to keep in shape. Sebring states: “It’s hard, sure, but it’s all worth it.” As demanding as it may sound, he is not alone in his pursuit of a career in the military, and he chose correctly when looking for a school dedicated to its servicemen and women.

As it is, Wilkes University was recently designated a Military Friendly School for its fifth consecutive year by Victory Media. But this title doesn’t just get attached to every school. This label carries with it the honor of being amongst the top fifteen percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are going out of their way to ensure the success of students who are veterans or active members of the armed forces on campus and following their graduation.

One reason Wilkes was chosen to be on this prestigious list is due to the recently founded Inter-Organizational Veteran Education Support Team (INVEST). INVEST aims to combat any problems veterans may face while in the process of attaining a higher education. But it takes more than creating a veteran-friendly program to become a Military Friendly School.

Arguably the most important feature that Wilkes possesses in this regard is a human touch. Veteran’s affairs counselor and retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Mark Kaster takes a personal approach to his position in that he works one on one with veterans who choose to attend the university. He is also the creator of the Wilkes University Student Veterans Council, which aims to help former members of the military adjust to civilian life. In addition to that, the group also supports community-oriented projects such as the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program.

It isn’t hard to see that Wilkes cares about its former and current military members. The discipline and self-control required to succeed in the armed forces’ tradition is not to be brushed aside. To Brandon Cole, another freshman ROTC student, familial tradition and the school’s reputation were why he chose to attend the university and enroll in its ROTC program:

“I chose to go into the (ROTC) program mostly just because being in the military is a tradition in my family. It’s the same thing with Wilkes. My grandfather, my grandmother, a lot of my family went here. It’s really just all tradition.”

These distinctly American views of honor and tradition are why Wilkes’ military community will not be forgotten, and the exact reason why the university will continue to do all it can to aid in their education and success, whether they’ve just begun their military career or they’re veterans looking for something more.