By John Crawford

Medaille College was fortunate to have Navy Rear Adm. Townsend Alexander speak about the state of the U.S. Navy in 2012 as part of Navy Week in Buffalo. As one of the most veteran-friendly schools in the state, having the admiral here was a great fit.

Alexander addressed what he has learned from the military, the value of education and how important schools like Medaille are to overcoming the challenge of reintegrating with society after service. He also touched on the skills it takes to succeed in today's military, which mirror what it takes to succeed in any organization.

Alexander has a pretty big job. He is responsible for the Navy's fleet of ships in the Atlantic, from North Carolina to Maine. As a veteran, it was inspiring to hear about the high level of performance exhibited by today's sailors. Despite budget cuts that can limit capabilities and hinder morale, Alexander firmly believes that the U.S. Navy has never operated at a higher level.

As an American, this is good to hear. But not everyone makes a career out of the armed forces. The great majority of service members return after a few years to civilian life. For too many, the shift can be jarring.

That's why Medaille College has looked to embrace U.S. veterans and service members in every way possible. Veterans are some of the most talented and dedicated young people America has. If they can excel in a demanding, high-pressure organization like our modern military, they can likely also excel in organizations and businesses across the nation.

And so, Medaille looks to encourage successful transitions.

For the past three years, the college has engaged in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides up to $99,999 in funding to veterans and service members enrolled in academic programs in a given school year. Medaille also participates in the $10,000 VETS Scholarship Program, which is offered to honorably discharged veterans.

Money is a key consideration, but it's not everything. It's also about being able to offer the right information, to help veterans navigate the academic world successfully.

Our Office of Veterans and Military Affairs offers guidance about college to anyone who has served or is currently serving in the military. Medaille has been recognized by Military Times magazine as one of the 20 best colleges for veterans in the country. And I'm proud to report that Medaille has created the first Student Veterans of America chapter in Buffalo.

Medaille does a great deal for our service members, but we know we can do more. We all can. And as a society, we have an obligation to do so.

We believe it is our duty to help those who have served so courageously move on with the next phase of their lives.

John Crawford is vice president for college relations at Medaille College.