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South Carolina Chapters Fund Veterans Scholarship at Clemson

South Carolina Chapters Fund Veterans Scholarship at Clemson
Clemson University Director of Military & Veteran Engagement Brennan Beck, second from left, and Development Officer Bailey Griffin, front right, are joined by Veterans Alliance Fellowship donors (left to right) Lt. Col. Tom von Kaenel, USA (Ret), Keowee Chapter president; Former Army Capt. Derek Merkler, Keowee Chapter vice president; Lt. Col. Wayne Watson, USAF (Ret), Piedmont Chapter president; University President Jim Clements; and Col. Dale Ellenburg, USA (Ret), Piedmont Chapter vice president. (Photo: Clemson University Relations)

Submitted by Keowee Chapter of MOAA

 

A newly created Veterans Alliance Fellowship is providing annual financial assistance to six student veterans pursuing graduate degrees from Clemson University in South Carolina.

 

The initiative was the result of discussions between Brennan Beck, director for Military and Veteran Engagement at Clemson University, and Lt. Col. Tom von Kaenel, USA (Ret), and Lt. Col. Wayne Watson, USAF (Ret), presidents of MOAA’s Keowee and Piedmont chapters, respectively.

 

The Keowee Chapter presented an initial check for $1,000 to Clemson University President Jim Clements at the 5th Annual Walk for Veterans at Clemson in April 2019.

 

[RELATED: Council and Chapter Resources]

 

Since then, the Keowee and Piedmont chapters have been instrumental in reaching out to local community organizations to gain a total of $6,000.

 

“As we continue to increase our support and inclusion for student veterans, it’s important we support all of our veterans,” said Beck. “We’ve successfully raised money to create scholarships for undergraduates previously, but this new fellowship fund will be the first of its kind to support graduate student veterans enrolled at Clemson. Our hope is that these fellowships can better support our graduate student veterans and make Clemson a more veteran-inclusive campus.”

 

Available data show many student veterans exhaust their VA educational benefits while pursuing undergraduate degrees. Adding to that, graduate student veterans are more likely to be married, have children, and work on a part- or full-time basis. This fund will help to address this shortfall.

 

“My hope is the Veterans Alliance Fellowship continues to grow to support our diverse graduate student veteran community, as well as inspire our undergraduate student veteran and professional veterans, to return to Clemson University for the next chapter in their lives,” Beck said.

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