student eats with wounded warrior rep

The Center for Military and Veterans Services hosted a Lunch and Learn with the Wounded Warrior Project on Oct. 19, 2023.

Nov. 10, 2023–Two separate organizations have honored Missouri Western State University’s commitment to military-connected students this fall. Missouri Western earned the 2023-2024 Military Friendly School Gold designation from Viqtory and was named to the 2023 Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges list. It is the second consecutive year Missouri Western has been named to both lists.

“Missouri Western State University recognizes and values the service of our students who are veterans, active duty, reservists, spouses or dependents,” said Chelsey Clark, director of military and veterans services. “Everyone from President Elizabeth Kennedy on down is committed to helping our military-connected students access their benefits and navigate the university environment. I am thrilled that the efforts of so many people are being recognized nationally.”

Missouri Western established the Center for Military and Veterans Services in 2020 to provide a single source of support and assistance to military-connected students. In addition to helping veterans navigate their education benefits and other military programs, the center provides extra-curricular programming and events to bring veterans and their families together on campus. The center also provides a lounge in Eder Hall where military-connected students can study or relax. The University’s Bachelor of Science in Technology program accepts up to 30 credits from ACE programs endorsed military training, or 25% of the 120 credits required for graduation.

Missouri Western has approximately 300 military-connected students on campus this fall. In celebration of Veterans Day, military students and employees are able to eat free in the Blum Union Dining Hall through Saturday.

For more information about Missouri Western’s programs for veterans and other military-connected students, visit or email

Details about the recent designations are below.

Military Times Best for Vets

Missouri Western was ranked 77th out of 325 schools nationwide on the Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges list, fourth highest in the state of Missouri and 11th in the Central Region (Missouri, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota).

Each year, the Military Times survey is sent to colleges and universities across the nation asking about their programs for veterans. The survey results are then analyzed, along with public data about colleges and universities obtained from the Department of Education and Department of Veterans Affairs, and turned into an official ranking. 

“Our comprehensive survey and thoughtful methodology make our rankings best in class,” said Mike Gruss, editor-in-chief at Sightline Media Group, parent company of Military Times. “The rankings have become a go-to resource to help veterans make important decisions about their educational planning and how to use the education benefits they earned through military service.”

Military Friendly School Gold Designation

Institutions earning the Military Friendly School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. More than 1,800 schools participated in the 2023-2024 survey with 665 earning special awards for going above the standard. 

The Gold Designation indicates Missouri Western finished just outside the Top Ten in the Small Public School category. Missouri Western was the only Missouri school to earn Gold Designation in that category.

The 2023- 2024 Military Friendly Schools list can be found at Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans. 

“Our standards provide a benchmark that promotes positive outcomes and support services that better the educational landscape and provide opportunity for the military community,” said Kayla Lopez, national director of military partnerships for Military Friendly. “Schools who achieve awards designation show true commitment in their efforts, going over and above that standard.” 

Missouri Western State University is a student-centered learning community preparing individuals for lives of excellence through applied learning. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit