SUNY Empire State College Launches Largest-Ever Campaign to Support Military-Aligned Students

SUNY Empire State College

The $1 Million Campaign Will Enhance Financial Aid and Degree Completion Support for Active-Duty Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families

Press Release

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York – Oct. 1, 2019) SUNY Empire State College has launched a $1 million fundraising campaign to enhance financial aid and degree completion support for the college’s students serving on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans, and their families. This is the largest campaign to support military-aligned students in the college’s history.

SUNY Empire serves the largest population of veterans in the SUNY system, with more than 1,300 military-aligned and veteran students and their family members currently enrolled.

The campaign officially kicked off on Sunday, Sept. 29, during National Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day with a One Million Steps relay at Albany’s Empire State Plaza. Members of the college community walked more than a million steps – over 500 miles – around the Plaza’s reflecting pool, joined virtually by walkers all across the country who contributed their steps via email and Twitter.

“I want to personally thank the members of our college community for spearheading this important effort,” said SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras. “I am proud that we are launching this campaign to break down any and all barriers our military community faces toward degree completion.”

“The State of New York is laser-focused on doing everything we can to help our nation’s service members, veterans and their families,” said retired Army Colonel Jim McDonough, director of the state Division of Veterans’ Services. “With this new $1 million campaign from SUNY Empire State College, the college is truly leading the way in providing educational supports for our military members and, critically, for their families, who are too often overlooked. I commend them for this ambitious effort to give back to those who give so much to our country.”

“We owe more than we could ever give to the members of our country’s Armed Forces – but the best way to begin that repayment is through action,” said Aaron Gladd, SUNY Empire’s chief of staff and an Army platoon leader and veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom. “With this campaign, SUNY Empire State College reaffirms its commitment and I’m proud to be part of the team announcing the largest ever scholarship goal for veterans and their families in the history of the college.”

“Supporting veterans and their family members has always been an important part of SUNY Empire’s mission,” said Desiree Drindak, director of SUNY Empire’s Office of Veteran and Military Education. “I am proud so many members and friends of the college community showed their support for our campaign kick-off on Sunday, and I hope they continue to participate as we pursue our $1 million goal.”

To learn more or make a gift, visit

About the Office of Veteran and Military Education

More than 1,300 active-duty military and veteran students, and their family members, are currently enrolled at SUNY Empire State College. The college supports veterans, Guard, Reserve, and active-duty military with special tuition rates and by waiving most fees, an overall culture supportive of veterans and members of the military through military advising, as well as education partnerships with military and veteran organizations and the SALUTE National Honor Society. The college also grants academic credit for college-level military training recommended by the American Council on Education.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College educates more than 17,000 students in person, online, and through a blend of both, at more than 30 locations in New York and at eight international sites worldwide. Together with one of SUNY Empire’s more than 1,300 faculty mentors, each student designs their own individualized pathway to a college degree that accommodates their schedule and awards credit for prior college-level learning. SUNY Empire awards more than 3,000 degrees annually and 94 percent of graduates stay in New York state. Today, more than 87,000 SUNY Empire alumni are entrepreneurs, veterans, and active members of the military, professional athletes, teachers, medical professionals, and leaders in their field, as well as in their communities. To learn more, visit and follow the college on social media @SUNYEmpire.


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  1. I may be wrong here, but how can we call people like Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld war criminals, yet at the same time encourage and celebrate the boots on the ground “veterans” who actually prosecuted the war crimes and atrocities, especially from the “thank you for your service” crowd? This is an all-volunteer force. If these forces were “just following orders”, then the convictions of every Nuremberg defendant, and people from Vietnam, like Lt. William Calley, need to be redressed. We seem to have no problem pointing the finger when it comes to the crimes and atrocities of our domestic boots on the ground; the police.
    I used to love the war movies, where the Americans were the good guys. How naive! Now, I loathe the US military, have no empathy for them, feel shame for their exploits, and am fully onboard with the founding father’s belief in having no standing armies. God Bless Murica!

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