The NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students evolved from the University of Louisville Veteran Symposium for Higher Education that had been conducted in Louisville, Kentucky for the first six years of the program. Under the University of Louisville’s direction, the conference grew from a small one-day conference into the premiere conference on student veterans with over 200 participants in its final years. The University of Louisville transitioned host responsibilities to NASPA after the 2014 Symposium to provide a national forum for the institutional policy, programming, and concerns of military and student veteran populations.
The symposium was envisioned by Tom Jackson, a military veteran, and Frank Mianzo. At the time they envisioned the program, Tom Jackson served as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Frank Mianzo served as the Chief of Staff for the Office of the President for Student Affairs, both at the University of Louisville. It was their desire to host an annual program that focused on issues related to student veterans while bringing together colleagues committed to serving student veterans. With the program planning and general assistance of Kathy Snead from Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, Shirley Hardy, Laura Mercer, and Glenn Gittings from the University of Louisville, the symposium flourished each successive year.
NASPA is grateful for the University of Louisville’s focus and leadership on this important area of higher education and looks forward to continuing the growth and development of the conference to best serve the professional development needs of those who work with our student veterans and other military-connected students
In February 2014, NASPA was honored to assume planning and hosting duties at the request of the University. The 2015 NASPA Veterans Conference boasted over 240 participants and 40 different programs. In 2016, the event changed its name to more accurately reflect the population of students served by attendees and more closely align with trends in research and policy.