Battle buddies aren’t just for the Army. For the past quarter century, The Posse Foundation has been identifying talented students from large urban public school systems and sending them in teams (Posses) to some of the top colleges and universities in the nation. Since 1989, close to 5,000 students have received $500,000,000 in scholarships from Posse’s 44 partner colleges and universities. These young people are graduating at a rate of 90 percent.
In an effort to increase the college-going and graduation rates of veterans at highly selective colleges and universities across the country, The Posse Foundation, in partnership with Vassar College joined forces to announce its Veterans Posse Program, a new college success initiative. Posse plans to expand this initiative to other colleges and other cities over the next several years.
By adapting the Posse model to serve U.S. Veterans, Posse believes that it can exponentially increase the college-going rates and success of veterans on elite college campuses. Vassar College has committed to adopting the program on its campus and will supplement GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon funding to guarantee full tuition for each admitted veteran. Posse, using its unique recruitment method, will each year identify, recruit and train the veterans. The Veterans Posse will attend college together and receive support from both Posse and Vassar through to graduation.
This year’s recipients have demonstrated exceptional leadership and remind us of the immense value that veterans can bring to selective institutions of higher education and to the workforce.
The members of this first class of veterans hail from all across the country, from communities big and small—from New York City to Copperas Cove, Texas. They have served in Afghanistan and Iraq as specialists in the Army, machine gunners in the Marine Corps, and engine mechanics in the Air Force, to name a few. Among them are:
- A recipient of the Purple Heart whose heroism in combat was matched by the tenacity he displayed while recovering from severe head injuries sustained in battle;
- A decorated veteran who led over 150 missions as one of the youngest tank commanders in his division and who, through community outreach and relationship building with residents in major opposition strongholds, facilitated successful elections in Baghdad in 2005;
- A medic who risked his life saving a fellow soldier wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Iraq and went on to become a researcher at the Institute for Surgical Research, exploring ways to improve battlefield treatments.
These are just a few of the many stories of leadership that characterize this distinguished group of men and women.
It is Posse’s ultimate goal to develop a new kind of national leadership network—one that is truly diverse and better able to reflect the voices of all Americans. Posse recognizes the important role that veterans will play in establishing this diverse network of leaders.
The Posse Foundation is one example of the many organizations around the nation working to improve veteran success on campus. Educational success continues to be a key element of ensuring our veterans continue to reach their true potential when they return home. For more information on The Posse Foundation visit www.possefoundation.org. To learn more about what you can do to help veterans and military families, visit joiningforces.gov.