For example, W&M’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business and the Center for Mindfulness and Authentic Excellence offered a June 2022 pilot certificateprogram, “Flourishing in Life Transitions.” The program hosted 20 transitioning service members and, according to Due, feedback was extremely positive.
Now, Floyd says, as the university aims to expand W&M’s reach, evolve to excel and educate for impact as part of the new strategic Vision 2026 plan, “With the help of increased philanthropic support, William & Mary is poised to achieve even more in the years to come.”
Floyd explains the university-wide focus of these programs through the lens of the WGCE, which works across the university to assist with training, education and research related to national security. “That could be the education of a lieutenant colonel seeking to complete one of our certificates in strategic broadening,” she says. “It could be the undergraduate wanting to undertake research in government or it could be the student veteran wanting to pursue an internship that could completely change their career.”
Additionally, the WGCE acts as a vital hub for all things W&M and national security: career partners, the military and federal agencies, military alliances, undergraduate internships and organizations that provide grants to the university.
The VET program seeks to augment additional offerings and services throughout W&M’s schools and departments. Other W&M programs and assets include the Army War College Fellows Program in cooperation with the Public Policy Program; Military and Veterans Counseling Specialization and Troops to Teachers program at the W&M School of Education; mindfulness and wellness programs at the McLeod Tyler Wellness Center; Major General James M. Wright Fellows Program at the Business School; Puller Veterans Benefits Clinic at the W&M School of Law; the Military Science Department and United States Army’s Reserve Officers Training Corps; United States Coast Guard Auxiliary University Program, Unit William & Mary; and information on using veteran’s education benefits through the Office of the University Registrar.
Another critical organization in the network of programs and resources for veterans and military is the alumni-led Association of 1775 (Ao75), an affinity group for William & Mary alumni who have previously served or are actively serving across the U.S. government. In addition to events such as the popular Ao75 breakfast during Homecoming & Reunion Weekend, Ao75 is a critical way the university and the W&M Alumni Association engage with the broader community of active-duty service members, civil servants and alumni veterans.
As a special note, Ao75 will be hosting a Veteran’s Day reception at the National Museum of the U.S. Army in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Nov. 10. More information will be available soon, and veterans in the area are encouraged to attend.
Additionally, the ringing of the Wren Bell has become a Veterans Day tradition at William & Mary. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a William & Mary student veteran will ring the Wren Bell slowly to commemorate Armistice Day, the original inspiration for Veterans Day. Attendees are encouraged to gather in the Wren Yard to observe the ringing of the bell as all around the nation, bells toll in unison.
TRANSITIONS, TRADITIONS & TRANSFORMATIONS
Originally from Houston, Texas, Due graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and went on to serve over 20 years on active duty as an armored cavalry officer, with several deployments to Iraq and an assignment teaching history on the faculty of the U.S. Military Academy. Due was drawn to lead the Center for Military Transition thanks in part to his own experience transitioning out of the military.
“When I retired from the Army, one of the challenges I faced was envisioning what was going to come next in my life,” Due says. “I discovered that I was actually asking myself the wrong question. It’s not ‘What do I want to do?’ — it’s ‘Who do I want to be?’”
As he entered a new career of service outside the uniform, Due quickly discovered he wanted to help others answer that question. He says his work at W&M and the programs across the university are about empowering people to flourish and to belong. By combining their experience in the military with the educational opportunities afforded at William & Mary, the individuals who come through these programs are uniquely positioned to become transformational leaders in communities across the commonwealth, our country and the world.