Leader of GW VALOR leaving with no replacement in sight

Associate Provost for Military and Veteran Affairs Mel Williams, right, will leave for a position at the University of California, Davis, at the beginning of April. Hatchet file photo by Sam Hardgrove, Hatchet staff photographer.

Associate Provost for Military and Veteran Affairs Mel Williams, right, will leave for a position at the University of California, Davis, at the beginning of April. Hatchet file photo by Sam Hardgrove, Hatchet staff photographer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 4:23 p.m.

Veteran and military affairs official to depart next month

by Avery Anapol

GW’s highest-ranking military affairs official will leave at the beginning of next month, the University announced Wednesday.

Mel Williams, the associate provost for veteran and military affairs and a retired vice admiral, is leaving GW to become the chief of staff for finance, operations and administration at the University of California, Davis, according the release.

Williams came to GW in 2013 to head veterans affairs, helping to launch GW Veterans Accelerate Learning Opportunities and Rewards, the University’s program that provides academic, career and financial support to military and veteran students.

“As the associate provost for military and veterans affairs at GW, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed supporting and observing the success of VALOR students as I served on a team with wonderful people at a top private university,” Williams said in the release. “This has been an absolute privilege for me.”

There was no mention of a replacement for Williams or a search to fill his position in the release.

Since the launch of GW VALOR, enrollment of military and veteran students has increased by more than 200 students. Substantial donations have also been made to the program, including a $1 million grant to the School of Nursing to start a program aiding veteran students in their transition to nursing studies.

The program has propelled GW to the top of rankings for veteran programs, continuously receiving high marks for veteran support and academic services. Last year, GW won a “Vetty” award from veteran employment organization Mission Complete for its veteran services office.

GW is currently ranked No. 31 for military-friendly colleges by the Military Times. There are more than 1,700 veteran and military students at GW,according to the GW Veterans website.

Interim Provost Forrest Maltzman said in the release that the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs has “flourished” under Williams’ leadership. He added that students will still be able to access VALOR services through existing GW staff.

“In the past three years the office has greatly enhanced its academic and student support services and deepened the university’s understanding of the unique challenges facing military students,” Maltzman said.