ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University has been awarded a Collegiate Purple Star, as announced Thursday morning by the Ohio Department of Higher Education during a video conference call. Ohio became the first state in the nation to adopt a Collegiate Purple Star designation, and Ashland was one of nine independent colleges and universities (33 total, including public colleges and universities) in Ohio to earn the honor.
The Collegiate Purple Star recognizes colleges and universities that are supportive and inclusive of military-connected students. The designations were determined by an advisory committee, which reviewed applications and recommendations, and the designation will be active for a period of three years.
“Congratulations to the 33 schools chosen as the first Collegiate Purple Star campuses. Thank you for being examples of Ohio’s proud tradition of honoring our service men and women,” stated Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. “With these Collegiate Purple Star designations, service members, veterans and military-connected students are able to pursue higher education knowing that their school has the necessary support system and guidance to help them find their next steps.”
Due to Ashland’s exceptionally strong emphasis and support of military-connected students, highlighted by its Jack W. Liebert Military and Veteran Resource Center, Carlos Campo was one of three college presidents requested to make remarks during the conference call. “Ashland is privileged to be among the schools in the inaugural class to receive the Purple Star designation. We would like to recognize Randy Spade for his leadership as the executive director of the Jack Liebert Military and Veterans Resource Center and also thank Deborah Liebert Karl, whose generosity helped us honor her father and establish the center,” he said.
Criteria for being chosen as a Collegiate Purple Star include having a dedicated military/veteran point of contact and/or office on campus, establishing priority registration for veterans and service members, surveying student veterans and service members and their families about needs and challenges and allowing for the establishment of student-led groups and organizations for veterans and service members.
Ashland meets those criteria and then some. Its Jack W. Liebert Military and Veteran Resource Center opened in 2020, after years of planning and development, and serves as a hub for military-connected students to transition from military service to campus life. Support for student veterans includes assistance with the admission process, registration and GI Bill processing, financial aid, academic advising, mental health counseling, career development and more. The Jack, as it is affectionately known on campus, also includes spaces for military students to study, as well as to relax and share a sense of camaraderie.
“Ashland is honored to receive this Purple Star designation from the state of Ohio. It affirms our commitment to our military families and we are so grateful to be among the first recipients of this very special award,” said Spade.
Randy Gardner, chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, confirmed Ashland’s commitment. “The Office of Military and Veteran Services at Ashland University provides support, advocacy and programming for all of Ashland’s student veterans and service members. I am pleased to name Ashland among our first group of Collegiate Purple Star universities for its efforts,” he said.
Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.