Military students doing the Swords Up pose

Great Grads

Bellarmine graduates the largest class of military-affiliated students in the university’s history

Great Grads 2022

This May, 40 military-affiliated students will receive degrees, the largest number in Bellarmine’s history.  

The students come from all branches of the military and are veterans, active duty, ROTC and dependents of military families.

A commonality is they’re all eligible for services through Bellarmine’s Office of Military and Veteran Services. Resources include comprehensive education benefits, a committed military and veteran affairs team, flexible options, trained faculty, dedicated campus activities and community support.

“Since our office was established in 2017, we’ve worked hard to make Bellarmine more military-ready on campus and in the classroom,” said Lindsay Gargotto, director of Bellarmine’s Office of Military and Veteran Student Services and an Air Force veteran. “I think we’re seeing the results of that in our retention and graduation rates. Our military-affiliated students are getting the support they need to succeed.”

Last year, the Department of Education awarded Bellarmine a 3-year, $390,000 grant to develop a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success. The only one of its kind at a private school in the region, the CEVSS bolsters students’ entire academic journey, from acclimating to university life to progressing successfully through coursework to degree completion.

“I hear all the time from veterans especially that they tried other schools and it didn’t work for them and they finally got what they needed here. It’s so gratifying working with them,” Gargotto said.

“We get to know all our students personally, so we couldn’t be happier or prouder for all their accomplishments, especially graduation. Their success is our success. We celebrate right along with them.”


Military-Affiliated Great Grads 2022

Bex Hartlage

Degree/major: Sociology and Clinical Psychology double major with an Anthropology minor
Military affiliation: Retired and Disabled Air Force Veteran

What are your plans for after graduation? Attend the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work and specialize in Military Social Work.

Why Bellarmine? It was local and has an unlimited number of Yellow Ribbon acceptances.

How was your experience at Bellarmine as a military affiliated student? The Office of Military and Veteran Services made it possible for me to make connections and succeed academically in my time on campus.

What will you remember best about your Bellarmine experience? Learning how to utilize the knowledge I have and advocate for others. Additionally, the 9/11 memorial in 2021 will hold as a very important memory as well as the support from faculty and staff as I struggled with that day. 


Andrew Klosterman

Degree/major: Criminal Justice with a Sociology minor.
Military affiliation: I’ve been in the Air Force for 11 years.

What are your plans for after graduation? I’m looking for a career in federal law enforcement while I continue my military service.

Why Bellarmine? My mother went to Bellarmine and she loved the experience. I like its small classes and being more than a number in a room.

How was your experience at Bellarmine as a military affiliated student? My experience at Bellarmine was amazing. The Office of Military and Veteran Services serves its veteran community with such dedication, from the VA to campus stuff and providing guidance to campus services. They truly go above the call of duty for their students.

What will you remember best about your Bellarmine experience? What I will remember the most from Bellarmine was the campus. College is hard and at times a grind, however the atmosphere and spirt of the university provides space to breathe. The small class sizes allow meaningful class discussions where you build critical thinking skills around timely, sensitive topics.


Katy McWhorter

Degree/major:  Respiratory Therapy 
Military affiliation: Dependent (Army)

What are your plans for after graduation? I accepted a full-time respiratory therapist position at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Louisville!

Why Bellarmine? I chose Bellarmine because the campus was small and felt like home. People waved at me on my campus visit and I knew this was where I had to be. 

How was your experience at Bellarmine as a military affiliated student? Bellarmine has helped me out a ton financially as a military-affiliated student. There have also been several events and fun things to come out of the military office that help us get to know each other and take breaks from campus life.

What will you remember best about your Bellarmine experience? I will remember all of the people and the memories I made on campus. Everyone I met shaped me in some way and I will never forget all the fun times I had!

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About Bellarmine University

Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.