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University of West Florida Designated Purple Star Campus

The University of West Florida has been named a Florida Collegiate Purple Star Campus for its commitment to supporting military students and families as they transition to college. UWF was one of the first three universities in the Florida State University System to earn the designation.

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“UWF prides itself on its distinguished outreach to members of the armed forces and their families,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “We are honored to be recognized for our efforts to create meaningful academic journeys for our military-affiliated students.”

The Florida Collegiate Purple Star Campus Program was established by the Florida legislature in 2023 and awards institutions for their support to military families as set forth in Florida Statutes. To qualify for the Collegiate Purple Star Campus designation, an institution must meet several criteria that include:
1. Having a career center or designated staff member as the military liaison to assist the military students
2. Maintaining a military webpage
3. Providing a transition program to assist military students
4. Offering professional development opportunities to military students
5. Providing priority registration for military students and their families
6. Demonstrating commitment to military personnel and families through additional activities.

Once awarded, the designation is active for three academic years.

For more than a decade, the UWF Military & Veterans Resource Center has served as a leading campus advocate for military, dependents, and veteran students, working to ensure the needs of these individuals are met through coordinating with multiple university offices and services.

The Center assists with VA education benefits, active duty tuition assistance, out-of-state fee waiver, academic advising coordination, and tutoring. The MVRC also hosts events to honor veterans. In November, a weeklong Veterans Week celebration with events throughout the week was held with community organizations. The MVRC also commemorates Veterans Day and Memorial Day each year by holding observance ceremonies.

“Achieving Purple Star designation is not merely a recognition; it’s a testament to our unwavering dedication to fostering a community that honors and supports our military-connected students and their families,” said Lori Milkeris, director and veterans counselor of the UWF MVRC. “Together, we ensure every member feels respected, included, and empowered to excel.”

For more information about UWF’s MVRC, visit uwf.edu/mvrc.

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Makenna Curtis is a Pensacola local with a BIG heart for her hometown. Motherhood, storytelling, helping others, and celebrating the small things in life are just a few of her favorite things. Makenna graduated the University of West Florida with a degree in Communications and Advertising in 2017. Her passion for living life to the fullest and connecting with others makes having a conversation or reading her work easy!