Marine Corps veteran David Keefe has joined the School of General Studies as the senior assistant dean of student-veteran initiatives. The newly created position is the University’s first deanship designed specifically for student veterans.
Columbia administrators developed the role in response to the steady increase in veteran enrollment at GS in the wake of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This year’s entering GS class has seventy-one US military veterans, bringing the total student-veteran population at GS to more than four hundred, compared to sixty in 2008.
In his new role, Keefe acts as an adviser to student-veteran groups and leads the effort to strengthen the student-veteran community on campus. “I was brought in to make sure that everyone within the veteran community feels like they’re being served by the school,” Keefe explains. He says he will centralize resources for student veterans and ensure that these students are being fully integrated into the academic community.
Keefe, a visual artist who also works as an adjunct professor of art and design at Montclair State University, joined the Marines a week and a half after September 11, 2001, and served for eight years. His work supporting student veterans aligns with GS’s sixty-eight-year legacy of accommodating the unique needs of men and women who interrupted their studies to serve our country.