Already the definition of military friendly for its support of veteran and military-connected students on campus, Wright State University received recognition for its broad and invaluable support of military initiatives and partnerships off-campus too.
Wright State was named the Dayton Business Journal’s 2023 Military Supporter of the Year, one of the many categories among the Business Journal’s 2023 Business of the Year awards.
The Dayton Business Journal is a local business publication that features industry news about Dayton and touts that it provides tools to help businesses grow, network and hire.
The Military Supporter of the Year Award validates one of Wright State’s greatest priorities: its commitment to growing as an anchor institution to its neighbor Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio’s largest, single-site employer. That alliance directly benefits Wright State’s graduates and the Dayton Region.
While the university’s top priority is meeting the needs of its students and the Dayton region, Wright State University President Sue Edwards, Ph.D., plans to continue investing in its relationship with Wright-Patt.
“Our mission is to ensure a ready workforce for WPAFB and surrounding contractors,” she said. “Wright State will continue to evolve our curriculum to ensure it is reflective of the needs of WPAFB and surrounding defense-related companies.”
Wright State has conducted several initiatives in the last year that underscore the university’s commitment to meeting the needs of Wright-Patt.
In partnership with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wright State is developing a blanket inter-governmental service agreement to focus on a variety of activities, including collaborative research and laboratory facilities. The agreement will facilitate research opportunities, and increase innovation and other collaborative opportunities.
Wright State has made strategic hires to increase synergies with Wright-Patt including the recent appointment of Darryl Ahner, Ph.D., as dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Ahner was the dean for research at the Air Force Institute of Technology before joining Wright State.
The university was appropriated $1.5 million annually by the State of Ohio to establish the Center for Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. This funding will allow Wright State’s Boonshoft School of Medicine to establish an aerospace medicine residency to further enhance the research relationship between the university and the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patt.
Wright State has also secured additional funding for its Clearance Ready Program, which exposes students to opportunities on base and with local defense contractors, preparing them for the security clearance process and connecting them to employment opportunities.
“We always strive to provide a holistic approach to our students and a high-quality educational experience that extends beyond the classroom,” Edwards said. “Encouraging our students to gain workplace experience with local companies and on WPAFB provides them with not only an opportunity to learn and hone their applied skills but also provides our industry partners the opportunity to assess them for potential employment.”
The university was designated as a 2023-2024 Military Friendly Silver School, ranking in the top 20% of universities nationwide. With a silver ranking, Wright State has one of the highest rankings in Ohio.
Wright State was named a Collegiate Purple Star campus in 2022, a designation established by the Ohio Department of Higher Education that recognizes Ohio colleges and universities for their efforts to support students with military backgrounds.
Also in 2022, Wright State secured a $3 million endowment gift from Reynolds and Reynolds to launch an Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans. The bootcamp will expand the collaboration between Reynolds and Wright State while supporting the success of veterans who are aspiring entrepreneurs.
“The role of higher education in the defense sector is valuable and unique because it sits at the intersection of cutting-edge research and workforce development,” Edwards said. “Continued enrollment growth for Wright State University means more positions filled at WPAFB and defense-related companies. An education at Wright State gives our graduates higher economic mobility and they, in turn, contribute to the betterment of our community. Their success is our success.”