Pat Tillman Veterans Center welcomes new students to ASU

August 10, 2017

Teamwork is essential in the U.S. military, and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center wants new student veterans at Arizona State University to know that there is a diverse team of people here also to help them succeed.

New student veterans looking to learn about their new team and the different resources to be successful at ASU can attend one of the Veterans Welcome events scheduled for Aug. 14 on Tempe campus; Aug. 15, West and Downtown Phoenix campuses; and Aug. 16, Polytechnic campus.   Veterans at ASU New students attend a previous year's Veterans Welcome Orientation. Download Full Image

The Pat Tillman Veterans Center organizes the welcome events every fall and spring as part of its mission to empower and support the veteran and military community as they pursue academic and personal success, said Matt Schmidt, assistant director of outreach for the center.

“Our new student welcome is critical to the short- and long-term success of our students, because the new relationships that are started here and the opportunity for incoming students to get a clear idea of the resources available to them will aid in empowering them to take ownership of their future at ASU,” Schmidt said. 

The Veterans Welcome will introduce students to military advocate Michelle Loposky along with other Pat Tillman Veterans Center staff members. Attendees will also learn about the Department of Veterans Affairs benefits through the VetSuccess on Campus program managed locally by Troy Rundle.

“In order to understand the complexities of VA benefits, come to these sessions,” said Marisa Von Holten, Air Force veteran and student. “The experts can answer your questions in person, and you’ll start opening doors and making connections before classes even start.”

There will also be opportunities to speak with other student veterans who’ve been here and can provide firsthand accounts of the ASU experience, as well as give valuable advice on various topics.  

Schmidt also has some key advice to veterans just starting their ASU journey.

“Seek opportunities to help fellow students,” he said. “If you are known as someone that is always there for other people, other people will be there for you when you need it most.”

He also encourages all students to ask questions and be curious.

“There are a lot of opportunities at ASU,” Schmidt said. “The more curious you are about finding out what is available, the more likely you are to find that ‘thing’ that really inspires you.”

Von Holten, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in justice studies and has been at ASU since 2015, also has beneficial, practical tips that apply to all students, not just veterans.

“Remain open to every encounter, learn something new from a stranger every day, and don’t skip reading the syllabus,” she said. “Jot down your due dates at the beginning of the semester and have a plan. Most importantly, save ‘me’ time weekly to forget work, school and life stresses. Stick to your hobbies and balance life.”


The fall semester will bring to campus and online a total of about 7,000 veterans and military-affiliated students, including family members. This makes ASU one of the public universities with the highest military-affiliated student enrollment per capita in the nation.

ASU is an attractive choice for students because here they can earn their degree and much more. The Pat Tillman Veterans Center is constantly seeking to create and connect veterans to opportunities, said Steve Borden, the center’s director.

“We want them to think about not just earning their degree,” Borden said. “For example, what would it be like to take that degree and add to it undergraduate research opportunities, an internship, a specific kind of study abroad, a work-study program to help them get some experience in the career field they want to use their degree in after they graduate?”

Many other universities are solely focused on veteran retention and graduation but not thinking about how to expand the education opportunities for veterans, Borden said.

“We’re trying to take an innovative or different approach to getting vets to think about the full scope of what they can do here,” Borden added.

For more information about the Veterans Welcome events, including time and locations, go here

Jerry Gonzalez

Media Relations Officer, Media Relations and Strategic Communications

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Military tattoos tell the tale of warriors

For these ASU vets, tattoos represent self-expression & a reminder of service.
July 14, 2017

For National Tattoo Day, ASU vets share the stories behind their ink

The skin sings: Iraq. Afghanistan. Korea. Japan. Indonesia. Germany. Hungary. And the good ol’ USA.

Military veterans say they get inked for a variety of reasons. They often symbolize loss, patriotism, resistance and sacrifice. Sometimes they’re used to quietly sniff out fellow warriors, but they can also serve as a shield to keep citizens from asking too many questions.

Mostly, they represent a form of self-expression and a permanent reminder of their service — or even just their favorite sci-fi show.

In recognition of National Tattoo Day on July 17, Arizona State University veterans share the stories behind their ink.

Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now


“Military people travel all over the world with deployments and duty stations, kind of jumping all around all the time, making new friends and having to leave their old friends,” said Chris Hennessy, a mechanical engineering major at ASU who recently served in the U.S. Marines.

“They want to bring parts of them with them wherever they go.”

Anthropologists have traced the age-old practice of tattooing as far back as 400 B.C., but its American military roots can be found in the Revolution. Tattoos picked up steam in port towns in the 18th and 19th centuries but somehow lost their luster during World War II.

Despite rigorous restrictions in the past, the American armed forces are more accepting these days, and tattoo culture among soldiers appears to be more popular than ever. That goes for the female vets, too.

“I would say it’s pretty common among women in the military,” said Marisa Von Holten, a justice studies major at ASU and Air Force vet. “I got my first tattoo with two other females in the service. One even ended up as my bridesmaid.”