September 10, 2011, Irvine, CA - When James LeBlanc disembarked the USS Abraham Lincoln in February he wanted to immediately pursue his BA degree, but ran up against a serious obstacle. He would have to wait seven months for traditional school to start in September to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill that provides veteran education benefits such as financial support for college and a housing allowance for veterans.
“I really needed the money the GI bill provided to get the education I would need to support my family,” said LeBlanc. “I heard at Brandman University, I could begin classes right away, so I did.”
In addition to year-round enrollment, Brandman University provided LeBlanc a flexible schedule and transferred many of his Navy credits. Named as a “Military-Friendly” university by GI Jobs and Military Advanced Education, Brandman helps military students and their families reach their educational goals through participation in financial programs such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill that even allows the transfer of financial aid to military spouse or dependents to further their education.
“As a veteran and a student at Brandman University, I understand how the Post 9/11 GI Bill can help improve the quality of life for our veterans,” said Chermaine Harrell, Director, Military and Veterans Relations and retired Sergeant Major. “We take part in several similar programs to share veteran education benefits and entitlements created for military students who have made great sacrifices during their time of service.”
LeBlanc also found the instructors to be the backbone of why Brandman is considered a military friendly university; primarily because they knew how to lessen the anxiety many military students have in the college environment.
“When you are in the military for a certain period of time you’re used to following orders and not asking why. Counselors and teachers who are willing to give you extra time and energy at school when you can’t understand something means a lot,” said LeBlanc. “Molly Young is one of those teachers who will sit with you patiently for hours just to ensure that you understand what she is looking for in an assignment and help me think critically with unfamiliar assignments.”
Molly Young remembers LeBlanc as a quiet, reserved student who spoke little in class but always seemed to be listening intently to others.
“Like many of our military students, James came to Brandman with only the Navy’s style of leadership as his point of reference,” said Young. “Through the courses taught here, interaction with other students from the private sector, and his hard work, he now has an even broader perspective of leadership and how he can lead regardless of the position he finds himself in when he reenters the work force.”
As a military friendly university, Brandman University attracts hundreds of veteran students, which increased LaBlanc’s comfort level as well. The veterans’ ability to apply class discussions to military leadership roles provided a deeper understanding of the coursework and the steps in decision making. Bridging the military experience with civilian life, organizational consultants taught James how to market himself in interviews and resumes. Having real world experience in both realms helped boost LeBlanc’s confidence enough that after graduation in the Organizational Leadership BA program this October, he plans to pursue a Master’s degree, with the veteran education benefits of the Post 9/11 GI bill.
With a Master’s degree in hand, LeBlanc will set his sights for a nice, secure position. “Believe it or not, I'm not too excited about jumping into a leadership role once I get my degree. I am a worker bee, and I'm hoping my degree will get me a quiet desk job somewhere. It’s funny because there are so many movies about the guy in the cubicle that hates his job and wants excitement and adventure, but that is the type of job that I covet. I will use my leadership skills, understanding of an organization and how it works, and my business ethics to show that I’m the hardest worker and best suited for any position. I’m very grateful for Brandman University. By the time I’m 26, I will be a Navy Veteran and full college graduate. Not too shabby.”
No, not too shabby at all.
About Brandman University
Brandman University is a private, non-profit institution accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Established in 1958 and a part of the Chapman University System, Brandman blends a legacy of academic excellence with progressive, innovative curriculum and strong support services designed for working professionals. The university serves more than 10,000 students annually in 52 undergraduate, graduate, credential, and certificate programs in arts and sciences, business, education and health, offered both online and through 26 campuses in California and Washington. For more information, visit http://www.brandman.edu
Media Contact: Rita Wilds, Director of Public Relations, Brandman University (949) 341-9941 rwilds(at)brandman(dot)edu