About the Pat Tillman Foundation
Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2004, following Tillman's death while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan.
Created to honor Tillman's legacy and pay tribute to his commitment to leadership and service, the Pat Tillman Foundation is a national leader in providing educational support and resources to veterans, active service-members and their dependents.
Inspired by Tillman's attributes of leadership, passion for education and spirit of service, the Foundation annually awards educational scholarships through the Tillman Military Scholars program.
To date, the Pat Tillman Foundation has invested more than $4.5 million in educational resources to support individuals committed to a life of service both in and out of uniform.
The University of Arizona and the Pat Tillman Foundation are proud to announce four UA students who have been selected as Tillman Military Scholars for the 2011-12 academic year. The new scholars join five UA Tillman Military Scholars who were selected last year and who have had their scholarships renewed by the foundation.
The four newly selected students are April Ellsworth, a doctorate student of law who is the first female Tillman Military Scholar at the UA; Brian Kolfage, an undergraduate honors student of architecture; Matt Randle, a doctorate student of law; and Christopher Piercecchi, a doctoral student of medicine.
The new class joins alumnus Kris Carlson, a May 2011 graduate from the James E. Rogers College of Law who now works at the UA supporting the veterans' legal program; Glen Lacroix, an undergraduate student of psychology; Martin Stahl, an undergraduate student of geosciences; Barrett Howell, a doctoral student of medicine; William McCracken, a doctoral student of pharmacy; and Dane Parker, a doctoral student of law.
"The University of Arizona is proud to welcome its newest class of Tillman scholars. This distinguished group joins five current scholars and one alumnus in representing the best of the best-student veterans who have committed themselves to leadership and service. Thanks to these exemplary student veterans and other UA student veterans and their feedback, the UA campus has become a model for what a veteran friendly campus should look like," said UA President Robert N. Shelton.
The UA is one of 12 universities serving as a Tillman Military Scholar University Partner for the 2011-12 academic year. University partners are selected based on their innovative service-member specific support services and proven culture of community for military families.
As a university partner, each institution conducts outreach to its veteran and military dependent student population and actively participates in the Tillman Military Scholar selection process. Upon the selection of Tillman Military Scholars on campus, each then supports the building and strengthening of community among these students, enhancing their academic and personal experiences.
In 2008, the Pat Tillman Foundation established the Tillman Military Scholars program to support educational opportunities for service-members and military families by bridging the financial gaps left by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.
Military families face numerous challenges during the transition from military to civilian life and have unique needs that often prevent the successful completion of a degree.
As a result, financial support from the Tillman Military Scholars program covers not only traditional study-related expenses such as tuition and books, but also other needs, including but not limited to: housing, transportation and childcare. In providing this support, the Pat Tillman Foundation aims to remove any and all obstacles that would otherwise prohibit academic success.
"We are honored to invest in Tillman Military Scholars at the UA and welcome them to the Tillman Community," said Hunter Riley, director of programs at the Pat Tillman Foundation. "They join peers from around the nation who, both in and out of uniform, are leaders on campus and in the community."
This newest class of Tillman Military Scholars has individuals pursuing education at every level from undergraduates to doctoral candidates at 32 different academic institutions across 22 states.
"With approximately 1,000 students using G.I. Bill benefits at the UA, the Tillman Military Scholars program provides a bridge for financial gaps when benefits expire or exhaust, while allowing the scholars to grow academically and professionally," said Dan Standage, coordinator of the Disabled Veterans Reintegration and Education Project and leader in establishing UA student veteran services on campus.
Thanks to the feedback from UA student veterans, the UA VETS center and its campus partners have become a national model for student veteran services on a college campus.
The initiative incorporates student life, clubs and a resource center with direct services such as priority enrollment, specific academic courses and transition programs, disability resources, advocacy on a state and national level, and research-based recruitment and retention programs to aid veterans through graduation.
Said Standage: "While many campuses offer similar things, it is our nontraditional approach to planning and implementing these that makes The University of Arizona different. Simply offering a service is only half the formula; operationalizing it to meet the needs of the student population is the critical component. We think we have it down to a science, using increasing enrollment, degree completion, direct student veteran feedback and national interest as indicators."