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Yesterday’s Warriors Becoming Tomorrow&#8...

Jared Lyon, president and CEO of Student Veterans of America (SVA), provided the keynote address at The University of Scranton’s College/University Regional Veterans Education Representative Conference held recently on campus.
April 20, 2018
By: Phyllida Whittaker ’19, student correspondent

“Veterans, especially educated veterans, it is my honest belief, will be the generation that leads during the hard times that are in front of us. They are the ones that will solve the complex problems of our country,” said Jared Lyon, president and CEO of Student Veterans of America (SVA), during his keynote address at The University of Scranton’s College/University Regional Veterans Education Representative Conference in Leahy Hall. The conference was sponsored through a grant from Lockheed Martin.

Lyon discussed the history of the GI Bill and its initial unpopularity with some of this country’s university presidents, who, in 1944, could not envision veterans in higher education.

“There were op-eds written by university presidents … begging Congress not to add a provision for education, and quite literally, calling for the President of the United States to veto the bill,” Lyon said. “‘These [veterans] maybe weren’t smart enough to get into college. I mean otherwise, how did they end up fighting the war?’”

Negative assumptions about student veterans have always existed, Lyon said, but veterans have always proved stereotypes wrong.

Veterans “not only defended the world, freedom, and democracy,” Lyon said, “but then came home and were quite literally the most successful students in higher education, with their top three majors of business, STEM and health-related fields.” Lyon explained student veterans today are the most educated subset of the population, and have some of the highest GPAs and success rates of any other group after international students.

The GI Bill paved the way for other once-nontraditional students to pursue education rights, including women, minorities, people with disabilities and people of lower socioeconomic status.

“The happy accident of history is that the original GI Bill made education available for a generation of warriors,” Lyon said. “It democratized higher education for not just veterans, but for all Americans.”

Recognizing veterans’ right to education enables them to become leaders and continue serving their country, said Lyon. The SVA, which assists over 500,000 veterans in the US, advocates for them on their path to success.

“We are yesterday’s warriors, becoming today’s scholars, who will most assuredly be tomorrow’s leaders,” said Lyon.

The Veterans Advocacy Committee at The University of Scranton in cooperation with Student Veterans of America (SVA), Washington, D.C., recently hosted a Veterans Educational Representative Conference on campus attended by over sixty campus representatives of veterans in the northeast. The conference was sponsored through a grant from Lockheed Martin. Members of the steering committee, seated from left, are: Mark McKenna, SVA vice-president; Michael Costello, University of Scranton’s Veterans Advocacy Committee member; Jared Lyon, SVA president and CEO and keynote speaker; and Amy Atkinson, president of The University of Scranton’s Veterans Club. Standing are college representatives: Joseph Wetherell, Scranton; Mark Gowaty, Keystone College; Stacey Shattuck, Penn State Scranton; Catherine Fox, Lackawanna College; Cortney Tyler, Keystone College; Roseanne Martinelli and Diana Cassel, Johnson College; and Robert P. Zelno, Scranton, conference chair.

Phyllida Whittaker ’19, Dimock, is an English major and member of the undergraduate Honors Program at The University of Scranton.
Phyllida Whittaker ’19, Dimock, is an English major and member of the undergraduate Honors Program at The University of Scranton.
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