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Learning and leading: CMU celebrates military and veteran students

Week of Veterans Day events planned to recognize valor, courage and sacrifice


​​For more than 40 years, Central Michigan University has been a leader in educating military and veteran students. Faculty and staff are committed to supporting veterans and their families through on-campus and online programs and at 19 military locations throughout the country.

“As an institution, we strive for consistent and sustained support that ensures military and veteran students transition successfully from service member to student to reach their educational goals,” CMU President George E. Ross said.

To honor U.S. military veterans, CMU’s Veterans’ Resource Center and the Student Veterans of America chapter will host a week of free Veterans Day events. Open to the public, events will begin Nov. 9 and bring student and area veterans together to celebrate the commitment of military service throughout history.

​CMU senior Brian Nakoneczny from Livonia is majoring in purchasing and supply chain management, logistics management, and marketing. He also is a military veteran, having served five years with the United States Marine Corps. Nakoneczny recently had an opportunity to meet and talk with fellow veteran and CMU alumna Maj. Gen. Gwen Bingham, ’96.

With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama, a master of science in administration degree from CMU and a master of science in national security strategy and resources from the National Defense University, Bingham knows the value of a good education.

Nakoneczny asked Bingham how a degree from CMU has helped her as a leader and was told that learning does not stop when a student is done with college.

“I love learning and the thought of learning,” Bingham said. “I appreciate how the U.S. Army offers its members academic training opportunities throughout the lifetime of their careers.”

Bingham is the first woman to lead the U.S. Army’s TACOM Life Cycle Management Command in Warren, Michigan, a post she assumed in June. The LCMC, in partnership with the Army’s Program Executive Offices, is one of the army’s largest weapon systems research, development and sustainment organizations.

Managing such a large, complex group is no easy task, but Bingham is focused and believes in the power of positivity.

“Positivity is infectious,” Bingham said. “I make it a priority to care for the people on my team because everyone brings something special to the group. I want each person I work with to enjoy learning and have opportunities to broaden their knowledge and become effective leaders in their own way.”

Central Michigan University has been named a top military-friendly university by Military Advanced Education for the past six consecutive years. In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked CMU No. 1 in the country for its online bachelor’s programs and No. 1 for its online master of arts in education program for veterans. Currently there are 155 flag officers with CMU degrees across all branches of military service and 1,062 veterans enrolled at CMU. 

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