Meet Posse Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University partners with The Posse Foundation’s Veterans Program to provide 10 four-year scholarships to U.S. military veterans each year. Wesleyan University salutes our veterans.

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Meet two of Wesleyan University’s 30 current Posse Veteran Scholars: Onitra Johnson, 34, from Sacramento, California, Wesleyan Class of 2019, a former U.S. Air Force personalist now studying in both film and the College of Social Studies; and John Fought, 32, from Scottsdale, Arizona, Wesleyan Class of 2018, a former U.S. Army parachute rigger focusing his studies in computer science and economics.

There are nearly 3 million post-9/11 veterans in the U.S., many of whom wish to attend college to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Unfortunately, liberal arts colleges and universities often struggle to recruit these veterans, and retention and graduation rates are low.

Wesleyan University began its partnership with the Veterans Posse Program in 2013, in order to attract and retain U.S. military veterans as members of the University’s diverse student body. Wesleyan welcomed its first “posse” of 10 veterans to campus in fall 2014. Today, there are 30 Posse Veteran Scholars on Wesleyan’s campus in Middletown, Connecticut (and 32 veterans total), with an ultimate goal to count 40 vets among its student ranks at any given time.

With an average age of late 20s to early 30s and a life history that includes time spent in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other war-torn countries, working and living under intense, often dangerous, conditions, Posse Veteran Scholars bring new and valuable perspectives and diverse life experiences to the Wesleyan campus, enhancing the University’s dynamic learning community.

“Those who have served viscerally understand what selfless service is about—it’s the motivating drive to give more than they get, and it’s the keystone to developing highly functional and diverse teams, where the mission is greater than any individual need,” says Antonio Farias, Wesleyan’s vice president for equity and inclusion/Title IX officer. “Excellence through resiliency best captures the experience of our Posse Veteran Scholars, and we look forward to seeing them continue to thrive.”

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