When Chiquitta Evans served on a base in Willow Grove, Pa., she would regularly drive past Temple University’s Ambler campus.
“I would always say, ‘When I retire I am going to come back to Philadelphia and go to Temple,” said Evans, originally from Alabama.
After serving in the U.S. Marines for nearly 16 years, Evans is now a Human Resource Management major at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, and is slated to graduate in 2018.
“This wasn’t here when I started,” Evans said, as she looked around sixth-floor office space in Conwell Hall that overlooks Broad Street. The furniture is all new thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Student Veterans of America in partnership with the Home Depot Foundation.
The Military and Veteran Services Center officially opened on Main Campus in August after more than five years without a centralized location. The center held a grand opening ceremony Nov. 15 with a little help from a special campus visitor — Gen. Colin Powell cut the ribbon that marked a milestone in Temple’s history.
Powell’s visit headlined a leadership forum sponsored by NewDay USA, a leading veterans-affairs mortgage lender that helps American veterans purchase or refinance their homes. The forum also featured Admiral Tom Lynch, NewDay USA Executive Chairman, as part of an ongoing series hosted by colleges and universities around the country.
“I think the American people appreciate what our veterans do and will always be there for our veterans,” Powell said, “but it really takes local activity. It takes what you’ve done here at Temple. It’s a remarkable facility.”
The Center develops programs and streamlines services to enhance the transition to a successful university experience for veterans, service members, and their dependents and survivors. The office provides a one-stop service center and is also home to the Temple Veterans Association.
The Temple Military and Veterans Services Center will serve the nearly 1,300 military service members and veterans in the student population. G.I. Jobs Magazine has ranked Temple University as a Military Friendly Institution each of the last six years. For business students, the Fox School of Business provides Yellow Ribbon Program match scholarships to eligible applicants, to help offset tuition costs for military personnel and veterans. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Fox Online MBA and Online BBA programs as the Nos. 1 and 5 veteran-friendly programs in the country, respectively.
Currently, a group of Fox undergraduate students is supporting the veteran-empowering Travis Manion Foundation through Dr. Jean Wilcox’s 10-10-10 entrepreneurial marketing course, which tasks students with multiplying $10 of seed money by a factor of 10, to be donated to various charities, non-profits, foundations, and community organizations.
Powell, after the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Temple veterans center, delivered an address to students and faculty at the Temple Performing Arts Center. Fox School military personnel and veterans said they welcomed the opportunity to hear from the retired four-star Army general.
“As a leader in my current job, and as a veteran, I paid attention to his message,” said Tim Orange, a senior Management Information Systems (MIS) major from Cheltenham, Pa. “He mentioned taking the time to show people that you care. As he spoke, I reflected a lot on my life, and how I can personally apply his message.”
Added Heikell Perez, a senior Business Management major from Miami, Fla.: “Gen. Powell mentioned that when you place people in leadership positions, you need to empower them to make decisions. … It wasn’t so much his message was (exclusively) for veterans, as they were for the entire crowd.”
Orange, who served six years of active duty with the U.S. Army, and Perez, who served nearly eight years of active duty with the U.S. Air Force, and many other military personnel and veterans attended Powell’s hourlong leadership forum, which was sponsored by NewDay USA. Like Temple, the company remains committed to educating military personnel and veterans, and their families. The NewDay USA Foundation has provided four-year scholarships to the children of fallen and disabled veterans.
The message of veteran support from Powell, “one of the nation’s most-senior advisors,” said Silas Adams, embodied what Adams said he’s witnessed first-hand at Temple University.
“I firmly believe Temple and the Fox School take great strides to support the veteran population and acknowledge the value they add to the campus culture and the dynamic they bring to the Temple experience,” said Silas Adams, who served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a command and control specialist.
After Adams’ discharge from the U.S.M.C he appreciated the support he received “nearly instantaneously,” he said, from Laura Reddick, Temple’s Associate Director for Adult and Veteran Student Recruitment, and Debbie Campbell, Fox School Vice Dean and faculty advisor for the Temple Veterans Association. At Fox, Adams completed his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in MIS, and is now pursuing a Master of Science degree in IT Analytics and Cybersecurity.
“I can attribute my success to the support I received and continue to receive from Temple and Fox, collectively,” Adams said.