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Aces in the Hole: Morris Alumni Excel in the Armed Forces

An American flag waving against a bright blue sky
Author: 
Jenna Ray
Publication date: 
February 3, 2017

A liberal arts education builds creative, analytical, investigative, and intellectual strength that prepares students for whatever their futures hold—including military service. Many alumni have gone into the armed forces during their tenure at Morris or following their graduations. Their success speaks to just how well the institution prepared them to serve their country.

Take for example Major Chris Wenner '99, who studied economics and management at Morris after deploying twice to Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. Wenner since has deployed five times to Iraq, the Philippines, and Afghanistan and currently works at the US Army Training and Doctrine Command headquarters as a senior training analyst. He has commanded Soldiers in combat and was Chief of Staff for a Basic Training Battalion. MAJ Wenner attributes the success he's achieved throughout his 26-year military career, in part, to work and internship opportunities, coursework, and committee service he enjoyed while at Morris as well as his later involvement with the UMM Alumni Association.

"Hard work and perseverance in college helped make me the soldier I am today," he says.

Dillon McBrady '13 agrees. At Morris McBrady studied history and political science and led the Morris Campus Student Association as president. Today he maintains these experiences were essential in preparing him for officer training in the Minnesota Army National Guard.

"Liberal arts teach critical thinking, which is incredibly useful in a chaotic situation in which people are looking to you to make a decision (and the right one at that)," he says. "I can say with certainty that Morris helped to prepare me for the military, and I see the military as an extension of the liberal arts education Morris instilled in me."

Morris is committed to—and recognized for—serving military students and families, too. Adding to this commitment is a new scholarship that supports a veteran or the son or daughter, or the grandson or granddaughter, of a veteran, made possible by the generosity of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5039 of Morris. The idea for this scholarship came from former president of the West Central School of Agriculture (which made its home on the Morris campus prior to 1960) Alumni Association Board of Directors, founder of the Theodore S. Storck Scholarship in Memory of Anthony and Thelma Storck, and commander of VFW Post 5039 Ted Storck '54, who says the Post wanted to do its part to support fellow servicemen and women.

"The VFW slogan is 'No one does more for veterans,'" says Storck. "We at the Morris post wanted to add to that. Because we're made up of veterans who've served in foreign wars, we wanted other veterans to have an opportunity to get some advanced education."

Morris is approved by the Minnesota State Approving Agency to participate in all Veterans Education Assistance Programs and has been designated a Victory Media Military Friendly® School six consecutive times. For more information about Morris's commitment to supporting military students, visit onestop.morris.umn.edu/veterans.