UNCW Named First N.C. University Subchapter of AUSA’s Braxton Bragg Chapter

Thursday, April 19, 2018

UNCW is now the first university subchapter of the Braxton Bragg Chapter of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) in North Carolina. AUSA, a nonprofit educational and professional development association, works to recognize, support and honor those who have served. The Braxton Bragg is the largest chapter of AUSA, housing more members than the other 120 sites worldwide. 

The UNCW subchapter of AUSA will work alongside the greater Wilmington community to provide access to support services like educational scholarships, networking events and professional development opportunities for active duty reservists, veterans, military spouses and their family members.

“This partnership will be a tremendous benefit to our military-affiliated students and service members in the area,” said Jess Boersma, subchapter president and associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. “We are always looking for ways to bridge the gaps between the community, the university and our military members. This subchapter will provide meaningful connections and unmatched resources to this integral population.”

As a subchapter of AUSA, UNCW will receive all of the benefits that an established and widely respected organization has to offer without having to divert resources toward recruitment efforts or generating income. Instead, the subchapter will be able to dedicate its focus entirely on its membership, ensuring it’s able to provide valuable services to individuals after they’re discharged from the military.

“People might be surprised to know that the AUSA is one of the largest military organizations in the world, but we have always been great admirers of the work they have done since their founding in 1950,” said UNCW’s director of military affairs Bill Kawczynski. “They act on behalf of all those tied to the U.S. Army, and membership is a way to keep that connection to the life that soldiers had while they were in the military. It ensures that those bonds, those resources, don’t disappear when they leave the service.”

Members of the subchapter’s executive committee were sworn in on Thursday, April 19, following a Board of Trustees’ Military Affairs Committee meeting. The ceremony was officiated by General Carter Ham, president/CEO of AUSA.

The executive committee includes:

President: Jess Boersma, U.S. Army Special Forces veteran, UNCW faculty, Associate Dean for Student Success, Policy and Undergraduate Scholarship, College of Arts and Sciences

Vice President: Rob Campbell, U.S. Army former 101st Airborne Division Brigade Commander, leadership consultant, author

Secretary: Scot Kelly, U.S. Navy spouse, UNCW employee (Academic Affairs), student

Military Liaison: Siobhan Norris, U.S. Army Military Police veteran, active duty spouse, UNCW employee (Military Affairs)

Legal Advisor: John Scherer, ROTC graduate, USA JAG officer, UNCW General Counsel

The university was recently ranked 1st in North Carolina and 40th nationally on a list compiled by Military Times of the top four-year colleges for military-affiliated students, and 9th on the 2018 U.S. News & World Report list of “Best Colleges for Veterans in the South.” Promoting an inclusive culture and fostering collaborative campus partnerships to enhance student support are key elements of the university’s Strategic Plan.

-- Christina Schechtman