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A Homecoming for Tennessee Wesleyan University Coordinator of Veteran Services

For Will Nation, his new position as Coordinator of Veteran Services and Student Success Coach at Tennessee Wesleyan University is a homecoming in more ways than one.

Will was a sophomore at TWU when the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred. He had always had a desire to join the armed forces, but the attacks were the push he needed to enlist in the Army Reserves in January of 2002.

Will served in the Army Reserves for 10 years, five of which while he was still a student at TWU studying biology. He joined the active duty Army in 2011 and was commissioned as an Infantry officer through the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School.

Once he completed the necessary training, Will was stationed at Fort Campbell, KY and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. Following that, his next assignment took him to Fort Gordon, GA, where he completed the Signal Captain Career Course. From there, he went to Fort Carson, CO, to serve as a Battalion Signal Officer.

After more than 15 years serving in the U.S. Army, Will made the decision to transition out of active duty life. When he was approached about the possibility of a Veterans Affairs position at TWU, he was excited at the opportunities it presented for himself and his family.

“For us, it’s an opportunity to move closer to the place we consider home, and to be closer to our families as well,” said Will.

It’s due in part to the response and support he received as a student at TWU while a member of the military that he was excited to give back to the veteran community on campus.

“The skills and education I earned at TWU helped place me into a position where I had more options because of my degree. I could have stayed enlisted, but instead, I applied and was accepted to the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School. This gave me additional opportunities as far as Army schooling and put myself and my family in a better position.”

Now he hopes to lend those same opportunities to veterans and their families at Tennessee Wesleyan.

Will’s new position as Veterans Coordinator will oversee the evaluation of prior credit for veteran students, as well as setting up a baseline for what can be awarded for military service. He will also serve as a resource to veterans and their families on campus.

“I really want to see the population of veterans and dependents enrolled at TWU grow,” said Will. “I know how difficult it is to go from the military back to school or to go to a university for the first time. I believe that by building a veteran community here on campus, we can have a positive impact on the education of the veteran students. It always helps to have people that have gone through similar experiences. It allows you to relate and to know that some of the struggles you are going through are not unlike the experiences of other veterans.”

Beyond serving the veteran students at TWU, Will hopes to promote understanding and make a positive impact on the campus community as a whole.

“I believe this position can serve as an outreach across campus as well. So many view veterans as being broken in some way. I don’t believe that is the case. We’ve had different, and in many cases, difficult experiences, but I think those can help us be more rounded in our views.”

Overall, Will said, he is excited to connect with veteran students and their families across campus in his new role.

“I look forward to the challenge of building a campus community of veterans that are excited for school and will push one another towards mutual success and having an impact on students that are struggling with the transition to college.”