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Gold medal status: UW-Stout receives Military Friendly designation for supporting veterans, families

For 15th year, university recognized for providing best programs, services; receives new honor as Military Spouse Friendly School

By Abbey Goers, UW Stout

For the 15th year, University of Wisconsin-Stout has been named a Military Friendly® School for its efforts in creating sustainable and meaningful education paths for members of the military community.


UW-Stout received a gold designation as a Military Friendly School, leveling up from its silver designation for 2022-23 and 2023-24.


It also received a gold designation as a Military Spouse Friendly School.

UW-Stout has approximately 400 military-affiliated students, who include veterans, current members of the U.S. military (active and reserve) and eligible family members. The university’s most recent First Destination report stated that 100% of veteran graduates were employed within six months of graduation.

“We’re very excited about the gold designations because they’re a good testament to the quality of programs and services we offer at UW-Stout to military-connected students,” said retired Army Lt. Col. Brian Hackner, military education benefits coordinator with UW-Stout’s Veteran Services.

“The Military Friendly® School designation tells veterans that Stout really supports them and cares about their education. They are relevant and wanted at Stout. And even more special is the Military Spouse designation because it shows we care about veterans and their whole family,” he said, noting that 50 to 75 military spouses are supported by Veteran Services.

Veteran Services collects data and submits a survey annually to participate in the Military Friendly® rankings.

UW-Stout is among 243 schools in the nation that received the gold designation. More than 1,800 schools participated in the 2024-25 survey. Ranking criteria include retention, graduation, employment and loan default rates among students, especially veterans. The list of Military Friendly® schools will be published in a special feature of G.I. Jobs Magazine.


Last November, Military Times ranked UW-Stout first among public universities or colleges in Wisconsin on its 2023 Best for Vets list. Overall, UW-Stout was 24th in the Midwest and 151st among the 325 schools that qualified nationally.

Support for service members, veterans and their families


UW-Stout’s Military and Veteran Resource Center is a space dedicated to serving veterans, service members and their families with support resources, activities and opportunities. The MVRC is a place for military and veteran students and families to connect, hold meetings or study sessions, or relax with a complimentary snack and refreshment.

Other special programs include a Council on Veteran Services, a student Veterans Club, veteran-centered events and the Veteran Mentorship Program, a unique peer-to-peer online opportunity designed specifically for student veterans.


“These programs give them a chance to get together with like-minded students who understand each other and whom they can identify with,” Hackner said. “There is a comfort level there, where they can connect and share experiences and support each other.”


Veteran Services provides advice on veteran and military education benefits and assists with applying for benefits: 715-232-1659 or


Additional academic opportunities include:


  • The Military Benefits 101 online course for first-year and transfer students provides an overview of military education benefits, support and services.

  • A minor in military leadership, where students gain basic concepts and principles of military science and the art of leadership.

  • Online certificates geared toward military-connected student interests, including project management - organizational performance, organizational development, strategic leadership and workforce development.

“These added opportunities help military-connected students to pursue options that best support their career and post-graduation goals,” said Veteran Services consultant Chris Engen, a 30-year Army veteran.


A Military and Veterans Career Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, at the Memorial Student Center. Hosted by UW-Stout’s Career Services and Veteran Services, the expo focuses on addressing employment challenges, navigating resources, and connecting veteran and military students with employers who value their experience. All military-connected students are encouraged to attend.


University Theatre students will perform the award-winning musical “Dogfight,” April 5-13. Set in San Francisco on Nov. 21, 1963, it is the story of Vietnam veteran Marine Corporal Eddie Birdlace and his flashback of the eve of his deployment, when he and other young Marines plan to celebrate their last night of freedom with a bit of debauchery and play a game they call a “dogfight.”


Tickets are available at and are free for active or retired military members.


The university’s Memorial Wall to fallen service members, also known as the Hall of Heroes, currently honors 47 alumni, including one veteran of the Spanish-American War, six from World War I, 28 from World War II, two from the Korean War, eight from the Vietnam War, and two from the Iraq War.


UW-Stout is part of the Northwoods Battalion Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps with UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls.


UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes.


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