Col. Gerald “Jerry” L. Smith has been recognized for his passion and dedication to veterans.
By Ashley Drake, Veteran Resource & Support Center, Division of Student Affairs
Texas A&M University’s director of veteran services was recognized this month by the National Association for Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) for his passion, dedication and service to military-connected students on campus.
Col. Gerald “Jerry” L. Smith ’82, USMC (Ret.), director of the Veteran Resource & Support Center (VRSC) and director of Veteran Services for the Texas A&M University System, was presented the NASPA VKC Supra et Ultra Award during that organization’s symposium on military-connected students in Seattle Feb. 2-4.
The NASPA VKC Supra et Ultra Award is reserved for a member who has gone above and beyond in service to military-connected students on their campus, in their community or throughout the country, and for whom the Supra et Ultra Award Selection Committee feel additional accolades are in order to recognize this professional’s passion and dedication.
A 1982 graduate of Texas A&M, Smith served in the U.S. Marines for 30 years before returning to Texas A&M as a professor of military science for the Corps of Cadets. In 2012, Smith founded the Veteran Resource & Support Center, part of the Division of Student Affairs, and has dedicated himself to the betterment of holistic student veteran success at Texas A&M. With his determination, leadership and passion, the VRSC has raised more than $13.1 million in donations and pledges for student veteran support, helping to endow more than 90 scholarships, awarding over 325 Aggie rings and funding numerous programs.
In an effort to export his dedication to student veteran success to other institutions, Smith took on the role of director of Veteran Services for the Texas A&M University System, where he is making great strides in sharing his expertise and formulas for student veteran success with Texas A&M campuses across Texas, as well as across the nation through his NASPA membership.
“I strive to keep Texas A&M University the preeminent national leader for student veteran support,” Smith said. “I’m grateful to NASPA for this recognition because it shines a spotlight on our veterans and their families who are working to succeed in higher education. We must all continue to give them every opportunity to take their service and experience and build a strong career and life outside of the military.”
The Texas A&M University System Office of Veteran Services
The Office of Veteran Services provides leadership, guidance, and coordination of services and support for military-connected students within the Texas A&M University System. Formed in 2011 by the Board of Regents, the Office of Veteran Services is a continuation of the System’s “Project Military Friendly.”
Texas A&M University Veteran Resource and Support Center (Division of Student Affairs)
The Veteran Resource and Support Center provides caring and personalized support to Aggie undergraduate and graduate student veterans. The center helps veterans navigate Texas A&M and provides a welcoming space, peer mentoring and tools to succeed academically and personally.