Penn State is named a military-friendly institution

University Park, Pa. -- Last year, Penn State had more than 2,600 course enrollments by military service members and veterans, or 11 percent of total enrollment, in Penn State World Campus, the University's online campus. One reason so many military personnel are choosing World Campus is the flexibility of anytime, anywhere learning, which is ideally suited for service members deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and other overseas installations. Penn State's commitment to increasing access to education for military personnel, veterans and military family members is being honored with the 2009 Ray Ehrensberger Award for Institutional Excellence in Military Education from the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE). AAACE's Commission on Military Education and Training (CMET) presented the award Nov. 3 in Cleveland.

"Penn State has worked diligently to make the University military friendly," said Wayne D. Smutz, executive director of Penn State World Campus and associate vice president for Academic Outreach. "Among the many changes Penn State has made to make it easier for military personnel to gain a Penn State degree is establishing a dedicated military Admissions and Advising Team for World Campus. This award is one more validation that our efforts are succeeding."

Clinton L. (Andy) Anderson, project director with the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges and a CMET/AAACE member, nominated Penn State for the award, because "Penn State World Campus distance learning programs are renowned for their outstanding adult learning experiences. A degree from Penn State has special significance for many who are seeking higher educational opportunities. Schools that have received the Ehrensberger Award have special meaning to military students. We want Penn State to be in this group."

Randy Plunkett, president of the Commission on Military Education and Training, which administers the Ehrensberger Award, said Penn State "has gone out of its way to attract and assist active-duty, National Guard and reserve personnel. If you're in the military and enrolled at a Penn State campus and you get activated, you can still take classes online and not miss a beat. That's important."

Other Ehrensberger Award recipients include the University of Maryland University College, University of Oklahoma, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Created in 1987, the award honors Ray Ehrensberger, a pioneer in adult and continuing education at the University of Maryland who instituted the first academic courses taught at overseas military bases.

In addition, Penn State World Campus has been chosen for the second consecutive year to be included in Military Advanced Education's annual Guide to America’s Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities and recently was designated military friendly by GI Jobs Magazine.

The AAACE, online at, provides leadership for the field of adult and continuing education by expanding opportunities for adult growth and development, unifying adult educators, fostering the development and dissemination of theory, research, information and best practices, and promoting professional standards and advocating for public policy and social change initiatives. The Commission on Military Education and Training is one of several AAACE commissions.

Penn State World Campus specializes in adult online education, delivering 62 of Penn State's most highly regarded graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs through convenient online formats. Founded in 1998, Penn State World Campus is the University's 25th campus serving more than 7,100 students in all 50 states and 62 countries. For more information, visit online. Penn State World Campus is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education, serving more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.

A recent Veteran's Day ceremony in front of Old Main on Penn State's University Park campus. Credit: Greg Grieco / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated November 18, 2010