Autumn 2020 Veteran Symposium

Through a generous grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, The University of Chicago’s Office for Military-Affiliated Communities (OMAC) will be hosting the “Removing Barriers to Access” symposium virtually. The virtual symposium will be held on Monday, October 26, 2020 and Tuesday, October 27, 2020, from 10am until 12:30pm CST. This event will be attended by higher-education institutions and veteran-servicing organizations from around the country. The symposium will be a great opportunity to engage, learn from others and, most importantly, support military-affiliated students by creating a welcoming and supportive environment on our campuses – both in-person and remotely.

We invite proposals for 25-minute presentations that address your experience and/or expertise in the following areas, including, but not limited to, recruiting student veterans, removing barriers to access for student veterans, diversity and inclusion of student veterans, and supporting student veterans. It is our goal that the presentations create and encourage dialogue—before, during, and after the meeting itself.

Download Symposium Materials 

Symposium Schedule and Pre-Symposium Checklist


Symposium Day One

Symposium Day Two

Presenter Slide Decks

SVA-Illinois - Theory of Change Model

Veterans Benefit Administration - Supporting Student Veterans through the GI Bill

Blue Star Families - Special Challenges for Student Veterans and their Families

CNAS - Called to Lead: Discovering the Connections Between Military Service and Higher Education Leadership

Cornell University - Multi-Faceted Approach to Removing Barriers & Facilitating Accessibility to the Ivy League

Dixon Center - Ensuring Veterans and their Families Succeed in the Communities Where They Live

Council for Adult Experiential Learning (CAEL) - Creating Pathways for Veterans: Working Together to Provide Meaningful Education and Career Opportunities

Peer Advisor for Veteran Education (PAVE) - Supporting Veterans in Higher Education Through Peer Support

Columbia University - To, Through, and Beyond College: Using Free Online Tools to Support and Empower Student Veterans in Transition

Keynote Address by Allen J. Lynch Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

About Allen J. Lynch

Allen served in the 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) from May 1967 until June 1968. He had been "in-country" for six months when the action took place that would result in his receiving the Medal of Honor. The recognition of his conspicuous gallantry and selfless service to others on that day would be the catalyst for a life of service to others.

Since receiving the Medal, Al has continued to serve his fellow veterans. He served as a Veterans Benefits Counselor and later Chief of Ambulatory Care with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. He then served as the Executive Director of the Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program in Illinois. He left that position in 1985 to become the Chief of the Veterans Rights Bureau with the Illinois Attorney General’s office retiring in 2005.

He also served with the US Army Reserve and the Illinois National Guard until his retirement with 21 years of service in 1994.

Allen and his wife, Susan, have three children and are now blessed with 6 grandchildren.

Medal of Honor Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. SGT Lynch (then Sp4) distinguished himself while serving as a radiotelephone operator with Company D. While serving in the forward element on an operation near the village of My An, his unit became heavily engaged with a numerically superior enemy force. Quickly and accurately assessing the situation, SGT Lynch provided his commander with information which subsequently proved essential to the unit's successful actions. Observing three wounded comrades Lying exposed to enemy fire, SGT Lynch dashed across 50 meters of open ground through a withering hail of enemy fire to administer aid. Reconnoitering a nearby trench for a covered position to protect the wounded from intense hostile fire, he killed two enemy soldiers at point blank range. With the trench cleared, he unhesitatingly returned to the fire-swept area three times to carry the wounded men to safety. When his company was forced to withdraw by the superior firepower of the enemy, SGT Lynch remained to aid his comrades at the risk of his life rather than abandon them. Alone, he defended his isolated position for two hours against the advancing enemy. Using only his rifle and a grenade, he stopped them just short of his trench, killing five. Again, disregarding his safety in the face of withering hostile fire, he crossed 70 meters of exposed terrain five times to carry his wounded comrades to a more secure area. Once he had assured their comfort and safety, SGT Lynch located the counterattacking friendly company to assist in directing the attack and evacuating the three casualties. His gallantry at the risk of his life is in the highest traditions of the military service. SGT Lynch has reflected great credit on himself, the 12th Cavalry and the U.S. Army.

Near My An (2), Binh Dinh province, Republic of Vietnam, 15 December 1967.

Click to learn more about the Allen J. Lynch Foundation