One visit to the campus and it becomes clear that Hodges University is a veteran friendly institution. It currently has 266 student veterans enrolled, representing over ten
percent of the student population.
The school prides itself on top quality customer service for all its students, especially for veterans who choose Hodges to fulfill their educational goals. Prospective student veterans meet one-on-one with a representative that explains what Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits are available to them, how to apply for benefits, and determines whether the prospective student qualifies for any of the veteran scholarships that are available. Many of the scholarships available to student veterans at Hodges are made possible through the generosity of local benefactors who are as passionate about helping these returning heroes as Hodges is.
Once a veteran has enrolled in school, he or she finds even more support. Hodges University provides a Veterans Services Center (VSC) on each of its two campuses where the student finds an advocate for any issues that may arise with their VA benefits. The VSC also serves as a referral center that offers up-to-date information on local resources available to veterans. The VSC staff dedicates much of their time to researching local companies which offer services and/or discounts to veterans.
One such service program is “Operation: Strides” at the Naples Equestrian Challenge which incorporates horses with therapy for veterans. The VSC also works to connect the veteran back into the community with events like the Veterans Meet & Greet aboard the Naples Princess and hosted by Freedom Waters, the Florida Everblades Military Night, and golf outings such as one recently held at Kensington Golf and Country Club hosted by the Home Base Program. The program, a partnership between the Red Sox
Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital, provides care for veterans with traumatic brain injuries or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Hodges University is also home to American Legion Post 397, the first Post in the United States to be located on a college campus and run totally by student veterans. The Post represents a new wave in American Legions, and looks to be a blueprint for future Posts located on college campuses throughout the country.
In 2012, the VSC hosted its first Veterans Fair, which combined services, resources and job opportunities for veterans in a one-day event. Due to the overwhelming success, the University has continued with the annual event, the third of which was held this year on June 14 at their Fort Myers campus.
The fair is open to all active duty military members, guards, reservists, veterans, and their family members. Participants meet representatives from companies looking to hire veterans, companies providing services to veterans, including the Red Cross and the Vet Center, and companies that support veterans. This year over 40 companies participated.
During their 70th D-Day Anniversary Ceremony, Hodges University announced the dedication of the VSC to Dr. Peter Thomas, WWII hero. Hodges University is proud of its
image as a military friendly institution, and looks to continue to improve on the services it provides for these American heroes. If you would like more information about Hodges University or the Dr. Peter Thomas Veterans Services Center, please contact Lee Smith, Director of Veterans Services, at 239.938.7833, or visit www.hodges.edu.