Skip Navigation
Regional News
State Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, speaks to veterans at Paul Smith's College on Wednesday. Little visited the campus to highlight the veteran-friendly programs the college has put forth in recent years. Photo: Chris Morris, <a href="http://adirondackdailyenterprise.com/">Adirondack Daily Enterprise</a><br />
State Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, speaks to veterans at Paul Smith's College on Wednesday. Little visited the campus to highlight the veteran-friendly programs the college has put forth in recent years. Photo: Chris Morris, Adirondack Daily Enterprise

How Paul Smith's college is doing right by veterans

Listen to this story
New York State Sen. Betty Little says other colleges could learn a lot from Paul Smith's when it comes to fostering a veteran-friendly atmosphere.

The Republican from Queensbury visited Paul Smith's College on Wednesday, April 3, to meet with members of the Veterans Club to learn more about what the college is doing right. About a dozen students who served in Iraq and Afghanistan gathered in one of the college's kitchen classrooms for an informal discussion with the senator, who has two sons who serve in the military.

Hear this

Download audio

Share this


Explore this

Reported by

Chris Morris
Tri-Lakes Correspondent

Little said the state Legislature has been working with the state Division of Veterans' Affairs to look for ways to make colleges more veteran-friendly.

"You're not all in the same mode as the freshman who may come here right out of high school," she said. "You have different ambitions and certainly have had more experiences in life than they have had. ... There are some campuses who don't really do anything to make their programs more veteran-friendly, or to even acknowledge veterans and their service."

In 2012, Paul Smith's was named to the G.I. Jobs "Military Friendly Schools" list for the third year in a row. The list is compiled using research and surveys of more than 12,000 academic institutions. In the end, fewer than 1,800 made the cut, and Paul Smith's ranked among the top 15 percent.

So what is Paul Smith's doing that thousands of other colleges aren't?

Amy Tuthill is director of veteran and transfer services at Paul Smith's. She said the biggest thing the college does is cater to the unique needs of veterans.

She said many veterans are several years older than the average college freshman. Some have families, while others are dealing with the physical and emotional scars of war.

"Back in '09 when we saw that veterans were identifying themselves as veterans and looking to add us with the GI Bill in mind, the college decided, 'OK, we need somebody who will take that on who can really dig into the bill,' because there's a lot of nuances with the bill," Tuthill said.

She said people with military backgrounds are used to having a "point person" – someone that can provide help on a variety of issues.

"When they come to me, if I don't know the answer to their question, instead of saying, 'Well, go ask so-and-so,' I'll say to them, 'Let's find out,'" she said. "So I either go with them, or I make a phone call or I make a visit, and I let them know. They're not being directed in a thousand different directions. They're given that attention that they are looking for."

Veterans say they like the services Paul Smith's provides, but it's the camaraderie they've found through the Veterans Club that's made the transition to academia a bit easier. Richard Tryder is a junior from West Milford, N.J. He served in Iraq with the Marine Corps.

"Sometimes, as a veteran, you come to a campus or you come to a school and you feel kind of outcasted a bit," he said. "You like to be around people you can relate with and talk with. I think coming to Paul Smith's and knowing that they already had a veterans club is great."

Little said the recently adopted state budget "does some good things for veterans." The budget included a new tax credit for employers who hire veterans for at least one year.

Chris Morris' reporting is courtesy of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. For more of his work, go to AdirondackDailyEnterprise.com.

 

Visitor comments

on:

NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.