Marketing & Communications

Army Veteran Geoff Roberts shares his story

Veteran’s experience explains BGSU ranking as a ‘military friendly school’

Bowling Green State University has been named a Military Friendly School by G.I.  Jobs for the third year in a row, and has moved up from 24th to 20th in the 2013 Military Times Edge rankings of “Best For Vets Four-Year College.”

Military Friendly Schools represent the top 15 percent of schools nationwide that deliver the best experience for military students, according to the G.I. Jobs website. Military Times Edge rates Best For Vets Colleges by the schools’ support services, academic policies and financial aid benefits available to student veterans.

This year, 471 active-duty military or veteran students are enrolled at BGSU. Dedicated to helping them make the transition to becoming students is Nontraditional and Transfer Student Services (NTSS), whose staff helps with the enrollment process and can answer any questions that may arise.  

U.S. Army veteran Geoff Roberts wasn’t searching for a military friendly school as he prepared to enroll in college after leaving the Army. He wanted to find a school with a sports management degree and hockey. A website search revealed that BGSU had both a highly rated sports management program and an ice arena on campus, which was an added bonus, he said.

An even bigger bonus was the help he received from both the Office of Registration and Records’ Veterans Affairs Certifying Office and NTSS in navigating the ins and outs of government regulations as well as the life changes involved.

After leaving the Army in June 2011, Roberts spent the summer coordinating and communicating with Eric Beutikoffer of the NTSS.

“He was the most important person in my transition to college from the military,” said Roberts.  “As a veteran himself, he knew what it was like to transition. This made me comfortable know that I was working with a fellow veteran.”

The VA Certifying Office helps students complete the necessary paperwork to claim Veterans Affairs Education Benefits (GI Bill).  

“Without BGSU’s Veteran’s Affairs Certifying Office it would be nearly impossible to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs and thus, I would not be in school,” Roberts said. Not only did he successfully enroll, he now serves other military students as a veteran’s affairs assistant in the certifying office.

In addition to getting involved with athletics as a play-by-play/color radio commentator for volleyball and hockey, he also became BGSU Veterans Club president, another role to which he brings a special understanding of what active-duty and veteran students are going through.  

Roberts’ military career included training as a reconnaissance scout and a paratrooper. His permanent duty station of Fort Bragg, N.C., was assigned to 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division.  

In December 2008, he was sent on his second deployment to Iraq, this time to inner city Baghdad where he participated in a 36-hour firefight with the local insurgents.

He came back home in November 2009 and stayed at Fort Bragg until he left the Army in June 2011, when he began his college search and made contact with Beutifkoffer.

“BGSU’s support of veterans is unmatched in my opinion,” Roberts said. Along with the departments and offices on campus engaged in assisting veterans, he is a part of making BGSU a military-friendly school.