Colleges of Distinction, a national higher education resource for students, has recognized Bellarmine University for its support of military students.
The organization praised Bellarmine for its comprehensive education benefits, a committed military and veterans affairs team, flexible options, trained faculty and dedicated campus activities and community support.
Bellarmine is the only private university in Kentucky to receive the distinction.
“Institutions with the Military Support recognition are aware of the unique challenges military students face on college campuses,” said Tyson Schritter, chief operating officer at Colleges of Distinction. “Bellarmine is proud to support and cultivate the skills that military students bring to the classroom, all while helping them achieve their personal and professional goals.”
Bellarmine’s president, Dr. Susan M. Donovan, said the honor reflects the university’s unwavering commitment to serving military students and their families.
“Bellarmine is proud to offer a robust range of programs for members of our military community to ensure they can successfully navigate any challenges and achieve their academic goals,” Donovan said.
Bellarmine’s Office of Military and Veteran Services provides:
- VA and military benefit counseling and enrollment
- Specialized semester orientations
- Military/veteran student-specific programming, such as Military Appreciation Basketball games, Boots-to-Books, lunch-and-learns and peer mentorship
- A lounge and study space dedicated to military-affiliated students
- Advocacy on campus for policy changes for military-ready environment, such as priority registration and Military Absence Policy
- A Council of Military and Veteran staff and faculty members
- A Registered Student Organization for military and veteran students
Lindsay Gargotto, director of Bellarmine’s Office of Military and Veteran Services and a veteran of the United States Air Force, said the Colleges of Distinction honor required an application and an interview.
“This allows us to join a network of universities around the country which provide progressive services for military services,” she said. “You must reapply every year, so this will help hold us accountable to constantly improve our services.”
U.S. News & World Report has also ranked Bellarmine a Top Ten “Best College for Veterans” among Southern regional universities in recent years and College Factual ranked it one of the Best Colleges for Veterans.
Bellarmine currently has about 115 military-affiliated students enrolled for Fall 2020. About half of Bellarmine’s current military students are veterans. Others are military-affiliated dependents and students who are classified as Active Duty, Guard, Reserves or ROTC.
Gargotto said there are numerous reasons that military-affiliated students find Bellarmine appealing in addition to the many services offered by the Office of Military and Veteran Services:
- Students classified as Active Duty, Guard or Reserves receive a $250 tuition rate and may use their tuition assistance benefits.
Brandon Welch, a student of Bellarmine’s Business Management program and an Army veteran, said the university made him feel at home.
"Joining the Army was the best decision of my life,” Welch said. “The second-best was coming to Bellarmine. Never as a veteran have I felt more welcomed, supported and at home than I have at Bellarmine.”