Today the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a U.S. Department of Defense office that promotes cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component service members and their civilian employers, honored National Louis University (NLU) with the Seven Seals Award and the Patriot Award. Both awards reflect NLU’s support of citizen warriors in the military and workplace. In partnership with the ESGR, NLU leadership also signed the Statement of Support (SOS), demonstrating that the University backs NLU employees who participate in the U.S. National Guard and Reserve. NLU is only the second university in Illinois to earn the Seven Seals Award and the sixth university in the state to sign the SOS.
During the ceremony, Nivine Megahed, Ph.D. and NLU President, was surprised with the Patriot Award for her ongoing work supporting NLU students, faculty and staff members serving in the Reserve and National Guard through a wide range of measures, including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed. Specifically, Dr. Megahed has been very supportive of NLU’s Veterans Program, which advances post-9/11 returning military and veteran students, as well as their dependents, on academic and professional paths.
“I am humbled to receive the Patriot Award,and strongly believe in supporting veteran employees who continue to serve in the Reserve and National Guard,” said Dr. Megahed.
In addition to today’s ESGR award recognition, National Louis has long been committed to supporting the veteran community. Dating back to World War I, NLU has had a rich history of meeting the needs of military service men and women when they return from duty. In 2012, the University instituted the Veterans Program. The program is unique because it includes “wrap-around” services that are particularly relevant to student veterans in their transitions back to civilian life and academia.
“The ESGR’s recognition of NLU’s commitment to our military men and women is an incredible honor,” said Stephen K. Curda, Special Assistant to the President for Veterans Education. “I am particularly proud of the work of the University’s Veterans Program and the individualized support and guidance our team provides to veteran students as they return to college with the goal of finding meaningful employment.”
The services, not offered by many other universities, are called “wrap around” because they are not all academically focused, but all play a key role in helping veteran students succeed in their studies and in life. These include career services, legal services, academic and curriculum advising, mental health/social services, spiritual services, physical health, and financial support. NLU understands that military veterans have many considerations beyond academics when returning to college, and the institution is doing its best to support them. NLU has a team of individuals with the knowledge, experience and skill sets to help veteran military students seamlessly transition to academia, graduate and secure employment opportunities.
As another testament to NLU’s dedication to veterans, the University was named a “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media, a media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life.
Notable guests attending Tuesday’s ESGR ceremony included Michael Ayers, Ph.D., Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, Illinois South; Ron Bacci, State Chair, Illinois Committee of ESGR; and Major General (Ret.) John E. Scully, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, Illinois North.