Wing Access Set To Launch With UCM
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 18, 2015) – Celebrating the strong partnership the University of Central Missouri enjoys with Whiteman Air Force Base and its leadership, the university in fall 2015 will launch its new Wing Access initiative to provide priority registration benefits for active duty military personnel, their dependents, and veterans.
UCM President Charles Ambrose announced the Wing Access program May 5 during the morning session of the first-ever Strategic Deterrent Coalition Symposium in the Elliott Student Union. Military dignitaries from across the nation, representatives of Whiteman Air Force Base, and many others were there as Ambrose spoke about the initiative as a way to also honor the recent service of Brig. Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of the 509th Bomb Wing at WAFB. VanHerck is being promoted to Major General and soon becomes Director of Operations for Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale, Air Force Base, in Bossier City, La.
Ambrose said the university previously honored Brig. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm and Brig. Gen. Thomas Boussiere as they each left their command at Whiteman for other high-level military leadership posts. The Command Pass, providing free admission to university athletic events, honored Vander Hamm’s service, and the Servant Leadership Lecture Series, an annual event that brings guest speakers to campus, was initiated as a way to recognize the strong base-university partnership under Boussiere.
“This has given us an opportunity to create different partnerships related to the strengths each of these leaders provides,” Ambrose said told the gathering. “So Gen. VanHerck, in recognition of your service, we are introducing what we are calling ‘Wing Access.’ This gives all the airmen and their dependents, and veterans on this campus, priority registration – it means they go to the front of the line to get access to degrees we know will strengthen their careers and their families.”
Ambrose said the concept behind Wing Access came from UCM students. Earlier this spring, the SGA adopted a resolution to offer priority registration to the university’s active duty military personnel, their dependents and veterans.
Wing Access becomes part of The Whiteman Advantage, which encompasses a number of opportunities that help military personnel who want to advance in their careers, or who are making a transition to civilian life. Through this initiative, the university goes directly to individuals who could potentially benefit from educational programs and services to learn more about their specific needs, and how UCM can better serve them. Since 2011, The Whiteman Advantage has led to opportunities that include the Command Pass and the Servant Lecture Series, as well as the Military Tuition Package, academic courses in aviation, and establishment of the Military and Veterans Success Center.
Jeff Huffman, director of Military and Veteran Services, praised the SGA for supporting Wing Access. He said it will have a tremendous impact on the ability of those who currently serve in the military to gain timely entry into the classes that are offered at times that are suitable to their demanding work schedules. Such an initiative exemplifies Brig. Gen. VanHerck’s belief in the value of higher education for those who serve their country.
“One of his goals has been to ensure that men and women who serve in the military and want to pursue a college education have the opportunity to do so,” Huffman said.
While serving Whiteman, VanHerck, who also earned a master’s degree at UCM, has been a guest speaker at various events on campus, including annual Pre-Memorial Day festivities, where he spoke in spring 2014. He has worked closely with the staff in Military and Veteran Services and the UCM Office of Violence and Substance Prevention to ensure goals of a Department of Justice grant aimed at reducing underage drinking, and promoting responsible use of alcohol among young airmen and students, continue to be met after grant funding concludes.
His responsibilities at Whiteman currently include ensuring combat readiness of the Air Force's only B-2 wing — including development and employment of the B-2's combat capability as part of the Air Force's Global Strike Task Force; providing logistics support for the Air Force Reserve 442nd Fighter Wing; Missouri Air National Guard 131st Bomb Wing; Air Combat Command 20th Reconnaissance Squadron; Missouri Army National Guard 1st Battalion, 135th Aviation Unit; and the Navy Reserve Maritime Expeditionary Security Division 13.
Learn more about The Whiteman Advantage by visiting ucmo.edu/vets/advantage/.