UNC Charlotte has a history of serving veterans. The University’s origin as the Charlotte Center dates to immediately following World War II, when the institution was founded to meet the rising education demand generated by the war and its technology.
As director of Veteran Services, a unit within the Dean of Students Office, William (Bill) Wilson oversees the support and development of programs that best serve the University’s current veteran student population.
With a bachelor’s degree from Longwood University and a master’s in higher education administration from Texas A&M University, Wilson has dedicated more than 25 years of his career to higher education. He has spent 10 years in student affairs specifically in student activities. Prior to joining the Niner Nation, Wilson worked at engineering schools at University of Missouri-Rolla and Michigan Technological University. He also spent nearly 16 years at James Madison University.
“My passion has always been in student affairs,” Wilson said. “There are two sides of working in the Veteran Services Office. The certification side that creates a bond with our students, and the side that is programmatic that assists in making the students’ university experiences better. Here, those two sides are merged, and (in coming to UNC Charlotte) I had the opportunity to be a part of something more. I chose UNC Charlotte, hands down.”
Wilson explained that veteran students’ life experiences are strengths in a campus environment; often they are highly motivated to succeed due to their training and service.
“What they bring to the education experience is real-world experience. That dedication and commitment is fantastic, and I love working to support them throughout their education,” Wilson added.
For this reason, it is important to him to advocate for the needs of veteran students.
“It is my goal to help faculty and staff to understand that every veteran’s experience is different. We should not make assumptions of them and help them understand the cultural differences. It is important that veterans recognize that their education is a time for learning, growing and adjustment,” he said.
Wilson continues to teach online for James Madison University’s Adult Degree Program. Since joining the University in December 2017, he is still learning his way around Niner Nation and the Queen City. He and his family are exploring the greater Charlotte metropolitan area, and Wilson said he is enjoying being a member of the Dean of Students team.
This article originally appeared in Inside UNC Charlotte.