Eric Watson ’91 wasn’t envisioning himself as a U.S. Marine Corps aviator when he first came to Syracuse University. The Washington D.C., native originally intended on studying computer science, but as is the case with many college students, Watson realized…
Application Cycle Now Open for the Tillman Scholar Program
The Pat Tillman Foundation (PTF) unites and empowers remarkable military service members, veterans and spouses as the next generation of public and private sector leaders committed to service beyond self.
PTF has opened the application process for the Tillman Scholar program. The program supports eligible military service members, veterans and spouses with academic scholarships, leadership development opportunities and a national network so they are empowered to make an impact in the fields of health care, public service, business, STEM, law, the humanities and education. The application to join the 2021 class of Tillman Scholars will remain open until Feb. 28.
The fellowship program honors Pat Tillman, a starting safety for the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals, who in 2002 put his football career on hold to serve his country. Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Tillman’s death in April 2004 while serving with the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan.
Each year, up to 60 applicants nationwide are selected to be Tillman Scholars based on the core values of service, scholarship, humble leadership and impact. Active-duty service members and student veterans attending a four-year institution full time, as well as the current or surviving spouses of veterans or active-duty service members, are eligible to apply. Now in its fifth year as one of 15 PTF University Partners, Syracuse University was selected for its innovative veteran services, strong culture of support for military veterans and spouses and rigorous academic programs.
“We are honored and privileged to be entering another year as a Tillman Foundation University Partner,” says retired Col. Ron Novack, executive director of the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs. “The entire Syracuse University community is exceptionally proud of our past University Tillman Scholars and all of the impacts they have made on campus, in their communities and our nation. As we enter our fifth year of this tremendous partnership with the Tillman Foundation, the University remains deeply committed to providing myriad programmatic support that empower our veterans, active-duty service members and their spouses to achieve success at the highest levels. This partnership emboldens the enduring commitment by so many and affirms why Syracuse University is the best place for veterans and their families.”
The University’s previous Tillman Scholars include Laura Buys ’19, G’21, an Air Force veteran and master of social work major in the Falk College (2020); Katy Quartaro ’18, G’20 (EMPA), a Marine Corps veteran and current management and program analyst with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (2019); Katie Piston, a Navy spouse and doctoral candidate in the bioengineering program in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (2018); Robin Evans G’21, an Army veteran and a library and information science master’s degree student in the School of Information Studies (2018); and Ryan Gross ’18, an Army veteran and now a senior intelligence analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency (2017).
To date, PTF has invested more than $20 million in academic support and named 695 Tillman Scholars at over 166 academic institutions nationwide.
Eligible full-time students pursuing a degree at Syracuse University, or planning to enroll full time at the school, may apply to be Syracuse University Tillman Scholars. Currently enrolled Syracuse University students who plan to pursue graduate studies at an institution that is not a University Partner may still apply to be a Tillman Scholar by applying “at large.”
Interested students should visit the Pat Tillman Foundation website to start an application. The application requires a resume, valid military service record, financial worksheet, a character recommendation and two essays detailing military and public service experiences as well as future academic and career goals.
Applications must be submitted by Feb. 28. Finalists will be interviewed by the Pat Tillman Foundation and asked to submit additional materials.
The Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA) is eager to help students with their Tillman Scholar application materials. “Our office exists to help students navigate the process of applying for nationally competitive scholarships,” says Jolynn Parker, director of CFSA. “We’re here to help with essays and personal statements. I’m looking forward to working with our student veterans on this extraordinary opportunity.”