Jan. 11, 2011
When Clint Vincent was in the Air Force for four years, he began taking classes on the side and earning college credits. He even took algebra online while serving in Iraq.
After leaving the service, he earned an associate degree at UW-Fox Valley in Menasha then enrolled at UW-Stout. He hopes to graduate in December with a Bachelor of Science in property management.
Why did he choose UW-Stout? “I liked the polytechnic focus. That was a plus for me,” Vincent said.
Vincent is one of a growing number of veterans choosing UW-Stout, which was designated Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University by the UW System Board of Regents in March 2007. A new UW System report shows that from fall 2007 to spring 2010 UW-Stout had the greatest increase in the number of veterans enrolled, 61.1 percent, of any four-year system school.
Overall, the number of veterans enrolled in the UW System, including two-year campuses, increased 17.3 percent.
The number of veterans at UW-Stout grew from 139 in the fall of 2007 to 224 in the spring of 2010. The university’s total enrollment exceeded 9,300 last fall, a record.
Pamela Holsinger-Fuchs, Enrollment Services executive director, said the university has made a concerted effort to attract veterans and make them feel comfortable on campus. “Within the veterans community, Stout has a very good reputation,” she said.
The university recently added the Stout Veterans’ Homepage at http://www.uwstout.edu/veterans. Under one of the page’s tabs, veterans can find more than 80 types of military jobs matched with majors at UW-Stout.
“For example, a (military) supply officer might be interested in our supply chain management major,” Holsinger-Fuchs said.
UW-Stout also has a campus veterans committee, and a veterans club was formed in 2010. In addition, the university has an Army ROTC program on campus.
UW-Stout has 40 undergraduate and 19 graduate majors, along with a hands-on, applied learning focus that appeals to veterans, Holsinger-Fuchs said.
Vincent, a native of the Appleton area, originally chose UW-Stout because of its construction management program before switching to property management. He was a structural civil engineer while in the Air Force.
Vincent and another Iraq veteran, John Bensend of Prescott, work part-time in Registration and Records at UW-Stout, helping veterans with benefits issues. They also are members of the UW-Stout Veterans Club.
“Pam is trying to make the university more veteran friendly, and obviously that’s working,” Bensend said.
Bensend, a junior majoring in business administration, drove Humvees and mine-resistant vehicles in Iraq with the 1-128th Army National Guard unit out of River Falls. He remains on active duty.
The veterans club includes active, reserve, retired, ROTC and civilian students “all looking to support and interact with each other,” said Jesse Richard, of Menomonie, club president. “Bridging the gap of communication between students who have served and those who have not is our main goal.”
UW-Stout is planning a Veterans Benefits Open House from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1, in room 13 of Bowman Hall.
Last fall, MilitaryTimes, which publishes four magazines for service members and veterans, ranked UW-Stout 78th on the list of the 101 best schools in the U.S. for veterans. More than 4,000 colleges and universities were considered. Rankings were based on the schools' policies and programs for financial assistance, academic flexibility, culture and support.
UW-Stout also was named in 2010 as a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine, meaning it ranked in the top 15 percent of all U.S. colleges and universities.
The UW System report on veterans enrollment was issued by the Office of Policy Analysis and Research.
For more information, contact Holsinger-Fuchs at 715-232-2639, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Patti Wang, UW-Stout veterans coordinator, at 715-232-1659 or email@example.com.