Operation Green Light
Attallah Piazza is lit green for veterans.

Veterans Have Many Avenues of Support at Chapman

Veterans considering a Chapman University degree have many sources of support.

The campus’s Veterans Resource Center helps veterans navigate the GI Bill and connects them with scholarships. The center recruits veterans from community colleges, acts as a conduit with Chapman admission and helps those who have served adjust — or readjust — to college life.

“We have a lot of students who are fully funded and they are thrilled to be at an R2-ranked institution,” says Stephen Leader, director of the Veterans Resource Center. “We have small class sizes and legitimately have the rigor that prepares you for any grad school.”

Chapman’s veteran community includes two known active duty members, 112 known veterans and 184 students using VA educational benefits. Since Chapman’s Veterans Resource Center opened in 2018, the VA educational benefit population has surged by 85%.

Chapman participates in the Yellow Ribbon program and offers scholarships through two other sources, Monster Energy Cares and The Ahmanson Foundation. Monster is the largest supporter of scholarships for veterans and their dependents at Chapman, giving up to $70,000 a year for four years. Ahmanson has supported veterans at Chapman for a decade through its Ahmanson Veteran Scholarship Initiative.

“We are grateful for the support of our partners Monster Energy Cares and The Ahmanson Foundation,” said Gabe Cagwin, vice president of development. “The scholarships provide an indelible impact for our veteran community.”

Other resources and support for veterans at Chapman include an active veterans club, an alumni network and LinkedIn group, a room at Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics, and student VA work study jobs. Chapman is home to the Military and Veterans Law Institute, which is supported by the Croul Foundation, and the Center for American War Letters, which includes emails sent from Iraq and Afghanistan.

This year, Chapman honored veterans by lighting campus landmarks in green Nov. 6-12 as part of Operation Green Light for Veterans.

Leader says students are asked if they have military connections and he helps them apply their VA benefits. The Veterans Resource Center also keeps ASVAB study guides for students who want to join the military and supports ROTC students. Last May, the first veterans cultural graduation ceremony was held.

“We’re trying to find ways we can serve our military population better and ways to partner with others to help make that a reality,” Leader says.

The Veterans Resource Center’s partnership with the Leatherby Center provides military-connected students a place where they can develop business plans and see if they can raise capital for their ideas.

“The thing about veterans is they’re very entrepreneurial,” Leader says, “and this is a tremendous resource that Chapman offers to students of all majors.”

He is creating a registry of books there centering around veterans in business and leadership, with support from alumni donations.

“We’re excited about the additional space and it provides a way for alumni to give back,” he says.

Half of veterans at Chapman are in Argyros College of Business and Economics, Fowler School of Law or Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. This month Dodge is holding two master classes that revolve around military movies. Student veterans will have reserved seats and a photo op with director Oliver Stone (“Platoon”) and actor Edward Burns (“Saving Private Ryan”).

Leader says military-connected students excel at Chapman, winning campus awards for service and scholarship.

“They’re doing great academically and bring a lot of diverse backgrounds into the classroom experience,” he says.

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