Support for student veterans prompts Pat Tillman Foundation partnership

by | Feb 12, 2015

The Pat Tillman Foundation has named the University of Missouri System one of three new University Partners for the 2015-2016 academic year.
Tillman Scholars

The Pat Tillman Foundation has named the University of Missouri System one of three new University Partners for the 2015-2016 academic year. Students selected as Tillman Scholars receive scholarships as well as access to leadership summits and networking opportunities. (Photos courtesy the Pat Tillman Foundation)

That the University of Missouri–St. Louis is a great place for veterans and military families to study hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Recent efforts to grow service-member support at UMSL and across the University of Missouri System have led to a new partnership that can further benefit those students.

This month, the Pat Tillman Foundation welcomed the UM System as a University Partner for its Tillman Scholars program, which has invested more than $6 million in the higher education of student veterans, military spouses and active-duty service members.

Each year, the program awards renewable scholarships to up to 60 eligible students selected as Tillman Scholars through a competitive application process. The funds may go toward tuition and fees, books and living expenses.

Photo courtesy the Pat Tillman Foundation

Family and friends of Pat Tillman (at left) established the Pat Tillman Foundation following his death in 2004 while serving in Afghanistan. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

“Since 2008, the foundation has joined with University Partners who offer innovative, veteran-specific services and a proven culture of support for student veterans and military spouses,” said the foundation in a Feb. 9 release. “Throughout the academic year, University Partners help identify and select qualified candidates on their campus for the Tillman Scholar screening process.”

In addition to the UM System, the University of California-Los Angeles and the University of Oklahoma were selected as new University Partners, bringing the total to 18 partner institutions nationwide.

“The Tillman Scholars program is the country’s premier scholarship and leadership program for military, veterans and spouses,” said retired Army Lt. Col. James Craig, associate teaching professor and chair of the Department of Military and Veterans Studies at UMSL. “I am overjoyed that the Pat Tillman Foundation has selected us to be their partner in this endeavor. The 400-strong UMSL student veteran community is not just experienced and smart – military service showed them the importance of making a positive difference in their communities.”

The UMSL Veterans Center will host an information session about the Tillman Scholars program at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 17. Craig will discuss what the application committee is looking for and share tips for submitting a strong package by this year’s deadline of March 3.

The Pat Tillman Foundation was established in honor of the legacy of Pat Tillman, who in 2002 put his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals on hold to serve in the U.S. military. After Tillman’s death in Afghanistan in April 2004, family and friends created the foundation, which aims to build a diverse community of leaders committed to serving others.

Evie Hemphill

Evie Hemphill