President Jon R. Wallace, DBA, extends a diploma as he shakes the hand of a member of the United States’s Armed Forces and a new graduate of Azusa Pacific University. This is the image that fuels the mission of those in the new Office of Military and Veterans Outreach. The office and Tammy Oluvic, director of military and veterans outreach, serve as the liaison between the university and military veterans and servicemembers interested in pursuing an education at APU or Azusa Pacific Online University. Oluvic partners with the university’s enrollment offices and regional centers to recruit and enroll students from various military bases and veterans affairs centers.
“Many veterans and servicemembers are unaware of some of the benefits included in the Post-9/11 GI Bill, including the opportunity to receive a free education,” said Oluvic. “Part of what we do as an office is help them understand the benefits they are entitled to.” Oluvic explained that since Azusa Pacific is a Yellow Ribbon University and a Servicemembers Opportunity College, a large portion of tuition expenses for military and veteran students and their dependents is covered.
In addition to informing them of their educational opportunities, the Office of Military and Veterans Outreach works hard to simplify the process of accessing these education benefits for veterans and servicemembers. For Oluvic, this process makes it easier for her to build relationships with members of the military community. She explained her excitement in taking on this role within the university. “The creation of this office shows the university’s commitment to serving military members, veterans, and their families, as well as our support for them,” said Oluvic.
Although the university’s current student population consists of approximately 3.3 percent military veterans and servicemembers, higher than the majority of other universities, the Office of Military and Veterans Outreach is seizing the opportunity to make a more intentional effort to improve on that number. “We have the chance to reach out to the military community and offer them a faith-based curriculum at an exceptional university,” said Oluvic. “It is also an opportunity to spread Christ’s love. Military veterans and servicemembers often describe this as a place where they feel a sense of safety and acceptance.”
At the core of this office’s work is the mission of spreading the message that as a Christian university, APU offers unique benefits for servicemembers. “The natural desire of APU is to reach out into every segment of our population to provide an education from a Christian worldview,” said Vic Bezjian, DBA, executive director of regional centers and office of military and veterans outreach, who is also a veteran and reservist Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force. “Military personnel and veterans, in defending our religious freedom, are often placed in life or death circumstances, forcing them to come face to face with their own mortality, reflecting on God. Because of this, APU is uniquely equipped to help this group of people understand life from a Christian worldview while moving to new areas of higher educational experiences.”
According to Oluvic, expanding the presence of the military community at APU benefits more than just the veteran and military students. “Military members bring their real world experiences to the classroom,” she said. “Their worldview can be shared with those around them and can enhance the learning experiences of others.”
For more information about what APU offers military members and veterans, contact Tammy Oluvic, director of military and veterans outreach, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (626) 815-4631.