Since its signing in 1944, the GI Bill has provided educational benefits to the country’s veterans and offered low-cost home loans, unemployment benefits and health care benefits. At Syracuse University, Chancellor William Tolley welcomed servicemen and women with open doors,…
James Schmeling appointed managing director, co-founder of Institute for Veterans and Military Families
James Schmeling has been appointed managing director of the newly established Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, which he co-founded with Mike Haynie, Barnes Professor of Entrepreneurship in SU’s Whitman School of Management. Schmeling was previously chief operating officer and managing director of the Burton Blatt Institute at SU. His appointment was effective July 1.
In his role with the IVMF, Schmeling will be a member of the senior leadership team. He will promote the institute’s mission by working with University stakeholders; federal, state, and local partners throughout the country; veterans and their families; NGOs; educational institutions; and others who have a stake in IVMF’s mission and values. His focus will be on veterans and inclusion activities on campus and with external stakeholders, including the IVMF board of advisors and corporate, governmental and non-governmental partners.
“Given my background as a veteran, my work with the IVMF is a way for me to formalize what I have learned over the years about veteran networking and educational support and resources, and share it with the wider community of veterans and those who serve them,” says Schmeling. “As a veteran attending Iowa State University, my first roommate was a Ukrainian Army veteran, my second a U.S. Navy vet. Both were living in a graduate/adult student dorm, which housed many veteran students. I also met vets through a non-traditional student organization for adult students,” he adds. “As veteran students, we formed informal support networks—sharing information about registrar reviews of military school transcripts, adult and veteran scholarships, financial aid processes, veteran-friendly faculty and more. While in law school, I had similar informal networks with vets, Guard and Reserve members. Many of my friends and peers returned to service after college and advanced, in some cases becoming officers or Judge Advocate General Corps members. Several have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am excited for this opportunity to be a part of the Institute’s leadership, in order to promote its mission and drive opportunities for veteran inclusion.”
“James has examined and written about business practices, conducted research with Fortune 100 human resources professionals and has been involved with the creation and growth of two other higher education research centers—the Law, Health Policy & Disability Center at the Iowa College of Law, and the Burton Blatt Institute here at Syracuse,” says Haynie. “He has worked with me as part of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), EBV-Families and the disability components of our SBA veterans programs from the beginning. I am thrilled to have him on the IVMF leadership team, and for the breadth of professional and veteran experiences he brings to the Institute.”
Schmeling has extensive experience related to veterans, education, inclusion, assistive technology, diversity, social science and STEM disciplines, and has written and published in the area. He has been principal investigator on three grants from Disabled American Veterans and the William Bingham Foundation for disability-related components of the EBV, founded in 2007 at Whitman. He is also co-principal investigator on a cooperative agreement from U.S. DOL/VETS on the National Veterans Technical Assistance Center for Homeless Veterans Reintegration Projects, and an investigator for a contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs on business practices related to hiring, retaining and advancing veterans’ employment. Schmeling is currently a member of the Veterans Best Practices Advisory Committee at SU, and an advisory board member of the Taishoff Center on Inclusive Higher Education in SU’s School of Education.
A U.S. Air Force veteran who served for more than six years, Schmeling was honorably discharged at the rank of sergeant. He was stationed in Colorado, California and Spain. Through his service, he engaged with and supervised active duty Air Force and civil service employees, in addition to Spanish Air Force and Spanish National Geographic Institute staff. During his time in the service, Schmeling was assigned to the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) and was a seismic systems computer-electronics technician. He was responsible for repair logistics for all reparable assets worldwide in the Atomic Energy Detection System. While assigned to a field maintenance position at a remote detachment in Spain, he also conducted resource protection, crime prevention and counterterrorism duties. He held Top Secret security clearance during active duty and was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the National Defense Service Medal. He was also a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Noncommissioned Officer Preparatory Course. As part of his unit, he was awarded the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award.
Schmeling began his education while serving, earning credits from the Community College of the Air Force. After leaving the service, he received his B.A. in political science, with a minor in international studies, from Iowa State University and earned his law degree, with distinction, from the University of Iowa.