With the advent of the post-9/11 G.I. Bill and recent drawdown of forces deployed overseas, the number of veterans choosing to pursue degrees at Niagara University has more than doubled over the past two years.
While many of these returning veterans are able to take advantage of the benefits offered by the G.I. Bill, the government subsidies often do not cover the entire cost of a veteran's education.
In response, alumni from Niagara University's class of 1980 have established the Sgt. Maj. Fred E. Kirtchen Memorial Scholarship Fund, an endowment that will financially assist returning veterans who are attending NU.
Kirtchen graduated from Niagara University in 1980 while assigned as an instructor in the department of military science. During his military career, he was decorated for valor in Vietnam and rose to the highest levels of responsibility in the Army. A proud Niagaran, Kirtchen continued his education after retiring from the army and maintained a close relationship with military alumni. In 2010, he was posthumously inducted into Niagara University's Military and ROTC Hall of Fame.
Niagara University's student veterans' organization recently presented a $500 check to the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., NU president, in support of the scholarship.
"We have held a few fundraising events and very pleased to be able to make a contribution to the Sergeant Major Kirtchen Memorial Scholarship Fund," stated Andrew Rodems, president of the SVO at Niagara, the first organization of its kind from Western New York to become affiliated with the Student Veterans of America.
For more information on the Sgt. Maj. Fred E. Kirtchen Memorial Scholarship Fund, including how to donate, contact Howard Morgan, director of advancement services, at 716-286-8772 or [email protected].
To learn more about the benefits that Niagara University offers to military veterans, contact Robert Healy, veterans' services coordinator, at 716-286-8341 or [email protected].