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…
Vice Chancellor Haynie and IVMF Advisory Board Members Recognized as Nation’s Finest 50
Syracuse University’s Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation, J. Michael Haynie, and D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) Advisory Board members Rich Jones ’92, G’95, L’95 and Ken Fisher were recognized last week by the Nation’s Finest Foundation as members of the Nation’s Finest 50 for their exceptional advocacy work in supporting service members, veterans and military families. The recognition is part of the Foundation’s 50-year anniversary celebration. Others recognized at the awards gala include renowned figures who have dedicated themselves to advocating for veterans, managing nonprofit organizations focused on supporting veterans, or leveraging their celebrity status to assist veterans. Notable recipients include former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, award-winning actor Tom Hanks, former Daily Show host and veteran advocate Jon Stewart, and veteran and former daytime talk-show host Montel Williams, among others.
Jones, a U.S. Army veteran, is executive vice president tax counsel and chief veteran officer at Paramount Global overseeing all veteran-related initiatives for the multinational media company. Jones is also the board chair for Syracuse University’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs. Fisher is managing partner of Fisher Brothers, one of the country’s most successful family-owned real estate development companies and chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, carrying on the legacy of his great uncle, Zachary Fisher, overseeing a network of houses that serve as a home away from home for the families of service members and veterans being treated for illness or injury.
Reflecting on the recognition, Haynie acknowledged working alongside the dedicated team at the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families over the past 15 years. When starting as a professor at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, Haynie created the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program in 2007. He later established other training programs and subsequently founded the D’Aniello Institute which now operates 14 national programs serving 20,000 military-connected people each year and providing research and analytics for governmental entities, veteran nonprofits and large employers as well as driving policy work in Washington, D.C.
“I’m honored and truly humbled to be recognized by the Nation’s Finest Foundation, and to be included among such distinguished company. Over the past 15 years, I’ve been privileged by the opportunity to work with tremendous teammates at the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families,” says Haynie, who served in the U.S. Air Force for 14 years prior to joining the University.
“This award says more about that team than it does about me, and is a means to celebrate their talents, their passion, and their commitment to the work we do together on behalf of our nation’s veterans and their families,” Haynie says.
The Nation’s Finest Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting America’s military veterans and their families, takes a comprehensive approach to housing, health and employment, helping them achieve self-sufficiency and reach their full potential. To ensure a fair selection process, the foundation assembled a blue-ribbon panel to review nominations from across the nation and ultimately chose the 50 recipients who would be honored as one of the Nation’s Finest 50.
For more information and the list of the Nation’s Finest 50, visit the IVMF website.