BENNINGTON -- Southern Vermont College has named Lieutenant Colonel John Miles as the first director of its new Veterans Scholars Program.

After serving two deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, Miles served as the executive officer and marine officer instructor at the State University of New York Maritime College's Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Miles was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the only NROTC program in New York City, which served 200 students from SUNY Maritime, Fordham, and Molloy University. He also taught 300 and 400 classes on military history, leadership and management, and expeditionary operations at SUNY Maritime.

His new position has two primary duties, he said, "First, to recruit veterans to come to SVC. Second, to help them adapt to life on campus." Miles, who was born and raised in Texas and attended Texas A&M, will have no trouble with the first, as he was formerly a recruitment officer based out of Springfield, Mass., and spent a lot of time recruiting in Vermont. He spent the last several years as a defense contractor based out of Virginia, but began looking for more stable work after his last government contract expired. "I'm happy to be back in higher education," he said, "As a defense contractor, your job only lasts as long as your contract, which is typically for three years. Eventually, I said ‘this is not fun, my job keeps disappearing.'"

Miles has already started his recruitment effort, putting advertisements for the new program into the Marine Corps.


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magazine, "Leatherneck," and with Victory Media, which runs the websites GIJobs.com and MilitaryFriendly.com. He says he has already received some interest from prospective students, and hopes to have between five and ten veterans enrolled by next fall. "My hope is that we get enough people into the program that it builds on itself, so that you have people telling their friends about it," said Miles.

Miles said he could see many military and ex-military people being attracted to SVC for a variety of reasons, including the location. "The vast majority of people who join the military love to be outdoors, he said, "Plus, its about three and a half hours from New York and Boston. If they want to spend some time in the city. It's the best of both worlds." Miles just recently moved to Bennington himself, but is happy with his decision so far.

"I said to myself, that sounds like a great place to live, a great place to work," he said.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB.