Military Friendly Ranks UM Among Top 10 Schools in the Nation

Advisory council gives Ole Miss its highest ranking yet

A man speaks at a podium on the front porch of a brick building with military flags flying on either side.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Military Friendly Advisory Council has named the University of Mississippi among the top 10 schools in the nation for military preparedness, an all-time high for Mississippi's flagship university.

Military Friendly ranks colleges and universities across the nation on how well they care for veterans and active military members. Ole Miss has increased its Military Friendly ranking in the last four years from unranked in 2019-20 to bronze and silver in 2020-21 and 2021-22 to gold in 2022-23 and 2023-24.

The 2024-25 listing, announced today (March 27), has UM ranked No. 8 nationally – the first time the school has placed among the top 10 – and No. 2 in the SEC. The university also came in at top 5 in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC this year in the Military Times Best for Vets ranking.

"Our newest distinction from the Military Friendly Advisory Council speaks to our commitment to our veterans and active military members, as well as the supportive nature of the Ole Miss community and the dedication of the individuals who are leading our military services programs," Chancellor Glenn Boyce said.

"We are honored to be recognized once again as a top military-friendly school, especially as it reflects so many of our core values, including leadership, respect and service to the greater good."

Andrew Newby

The university's climb to the top of Military Friendly's ranks is due to an increased focus on veterans and military students on campus, said Andrew Newby, head of veteran and military services.

In the last six years, the university has designated a house centrally located on campus for veterans, brought on an in-house counselor for veteran students and instituted the Veteran Treatment Team, a program that allows student veterans to seek health care on campus instead of driving hours to the nearest VA facility.

Alongside helping student veterans file to access GI Bill benefits and VA benefits, the George Street House is a place for student veterans and military-connected students to study, relax and find support, Newby said.

"Our goal is, as always, to get our student veterans to, through and beyond Ole Miss," he said. "We want to create the model for other schools to emulate when it comes to student veterans and military-connected students.

"We're striving to that No. 1 spot. We want to become the destination of choice for student veterans."

Becoming No. 1 means you never stop looking for the next area to improve, Newby said.

In January, leaders from the Office of Veterans and Military Services and UM Army ROTC took a Mental Health First Aid training course to prepare to help students in their field. Boyce's GROVE Well-Being Initiative, which began last fall, made Mental Health First Aid training available to all faculty and staff.

"For us, I wanted all of my staff to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms, so that when we talk with students, we can refer them to all of the resources we have here on campus," Newby said.


Andrew Newby (left), head of the Office of Veteran and Military Services, Master Sgt. Anthony Douglas (right), VMS operations coordinator, and three members of the Ole Miss Student Veterans Association visit with U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly (center) during a visit to Washington, D.C. Newby and Douglas escorted the three students – Max Hennen (second from left), Taylor Bridges (third from left) and Dylan Neylon (second from right) – on a weeklong tour of the nation’s capital in March. Submitted photo

A recent study in the American Journal of College Health found that veterans are more likely to show signs of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation than others their ages but are unlikely to receive treatment. Approximately 20% of veterans and 23% of active-duty military personnel experience depression, compared to only 8% of the general population, according to a recent study in BMC Psychiatry.

"Not all veterans have mental health problems, but they are at higher risk of experiencing the stressors that can lead to those problems," said Master Sgt. Anthony Douglas, operations coordinator for veteran and military services. "That's why we needed to learn how to recognize signs of mental distress.

"We want to be able to offer nonjudgmental support and to be knowledgeable about the resources we have here on campus."

Having the George Street House – which is staffed exclusively by veterans or current military members – means having a place on campus where veterans can study, congregate and be a part of a community that understands them, said Taylor Bridges, Student Veteran Association president and a junior integrated marketing communications student from Madison.

"The George Street House is a great way to be integrated with students who have military families or are veterans," Bridges said. "When you've gone through something for so long like the military, nothing can bring you back to that as well as being surrounded by those people who relate to your story.

"It's very special to know that the people that you served with are still around you and you can still be together. I don't think you get that everywhere."


Clara Turnage


Office, Department or Center


March 27, 2024