Brown Alumni Veteran's Alumni Council

Spring 2021 Newsletter

In this issue:

COVID-19 virtual conversation Alumni panel and networking eventGraduating veterans and service members Alumni veterans in the news Military-affiliated admissions and financial aid updateShare and learn more

BUVAC sponsors an engaging discussion with award-winning author and Watson Institute scholar

Headshot of John M. Berry with book cover

Last month, the Brown University Veterans Alumni Council (BUVAC) was pleased to present Contextualizing COVID-19: Its Impact in Rhode Island and Correlations to 1918. This virtual conversation featured John M. Barry ’68, author of the New York Times Bestseller The Great Influenza: The Deadliest Pandemic in History, and David Polatty, visiting scholar at Brown’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and director of the Humanitarian Response Program at the U.S. Naval War College. Joan Wernig Sorensen ’72 LHD’19 hon., P’06 P’06, honorary BUVAC member and Brown Corporation Fellow, moderated the discussion.

Alumni panel and mixer provides networking opportunities for students

Screen capture of OMAS zoom presentation

Brown’s Offices of Alumni Relations and Military-Affiliated Students (OMAS) partnered this spring to provide veteran and ROTC students with an opportunity to meet military-affiliated alumni, learn about their career journeys, and pick up networking advice. Speakers included honorary BUVAC member Jeffrey F. Hines ’83 MD’86, Khiet Ho Jenkins ’07, and BUVAC members Jeremy McKenzie MPP’16 and Scott Quigley ’05. Watch the recording.

Commencement celebration video

OMAS recently celebrated the eight graduating veterans and commissioning students with a video. The graduates included three Bachelor of Arts recipients, an Executive Masters recipient, and three Medical Doctors.

Alumni veterans and friends in the news

Major Allison Brager ’07 with two friends

•  U.S. Army neuroscientist Major Allison Brager ’07 is under consideration by NASA to become the Army’s next astronaut. Brager is a member of the U.S. Army Warrior Fitness Team and won numerous All-Ivy titles in track and field while studying psychology at Brown.

Headshot of Jonathan Hillman ’09

•  BUVAC member Jonathan E. Hillman ’09 has a new book, The Emperor’s New Road: China and the Project of the Century, about China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Headshot of Walker Mills

•  Captain Walker D. Mills ’15 has been selected as the Proceedings 2020 Author of the Year by the U.S. Naval Institute, which sponsors the monthly professional journal. Read more of Mills’s work on the USNI website.

Headshot of Stefanie Tompkins ScM’93 PhD’97

•  Stefanie Tompkins ScM’93 PhD’97 has been appointed the 23rd director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Military-affiliated admissions and financial aid update

BUVAC was honored to have Brown’s Dean of Admission, Logan Powell, present an update on military-affiliated student applications, admissions, and enrollment during its April 14 council meeting.

In 2019, Brown committed to doubling the enrollment of undergraduate student veterans by 2024 and has made several U.S. military service member and veteran-specific policy commitments including:

•  Waiving application fees for first-year, transfer, and Resumed Undergraduate Education (RUE) applicants.

•  Instituting a test-optional policy for standardized test scores (SAT or ACT), regardless of application type.

•  Increasing financial aid to undergraduate student veterans, replacing all family contributions with scholarship funds, and boosting Yellow Ribbon scholarship awards to eliminate all out-of-pocket costs toward undergraduate tuition and fees.

•  Considering all prospective students who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces on a need-blind basis beginning with the 2020-21 academic year, eliminating an applicant’s ability to pay tuition from the admission decision.

These policy commitments along with concerted recruitment efforts, on-campus support programs such as OMAS, and a generous $20 million gift from U.S. Army veteran, Brown parent, and honorary BUVAC member Joseph P. Healey to fund full scholarships for U.S. military veterans at Brown, have already made an impact. Between the fall of 2018 and 2020, there has been a 200% increase in U.S. veteran admissions and a 166% increase in enrollment.

Student veterans embody the devotion to service that is central to the core of Brown’s community. To help them realize their personal and professional goals, Brown has committed to raising another $25 million in dedicated endowment support for student veteran financial aid. Please consider joining the special group of alumni, parents, and friends who are expanding access to a Brown education for student veterans.

Update, share, and learn more

Staying in touch with the alumni veteran community

•  Is your alumni record up to date? To ensure you are kept updated about any upcoming veteran-related programs or information at Brown, email with your branch, dates of service, and anything else you’d like to share. Thank you for your service!

•  Help expand the BUVAC mailing list. Do you know anyone interested in Brown military-affiliated news and events? Please share this newsletter and encourage your classmates, peers, and networks to join the BUVAC mailing list by emailing

•  Interested in finding out more about how Brown supports veteran and ROTC students? OMAS offers programs and services to help Brown students make successful transitions by connecting them with campus and community resources, facilitating learning opportunities, providing space for shared conversation, and more. The OMAS website includes details on Air Force, Army and Naval ROTC, as well as the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) peer support program.

•  Keep up with Brown alumni veteran affairs. Visit Brown’s Alumni & Friends website for more information on BUVAC and its alumni-student mentoring program, updates on the University’s initiative to bring more veterans to College Hill and links to past newsletters.