Campus Life

UWF recognized as a Gold-level Military Friendly® school

The University of West Florida has been recognized as a gold-level University in the large public school category in the annual Military Friendly® Schools list for 2023-2024. UWF earned the gold distinction for success in helping veterans make the transition from the military to school and, ultimately, rewarding civilian careers. This marks the fifth year UWF has received a designation from Military Friendly®.

“This is an achievement we take pride in each year and will continue to work to maintain for years to come,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “The Military Friendly® designation reflects our comprehensive support of military-affiliated students and the standard of excellence they can expect from UWF.”

The distinction is a direct result of the efforts put forth by the UWF Military & Veterans Resource Center, which serves as the leading campus advocate for military, dependents and veteran students. The MVRC immediately engages with students when they fill out and indicate a military affiliation on a UWF application. Military-affiliated students receive assistance using VA education benefits and scholarships, learn about programming, tutoring and counseling opportunities, as well as accommodations that are made for those with disabilities. The MVRC recently hired a second mentor coordinator to assist students with accessing all resources available to them. Lori Milkeris, director of MVRC, credits the collaboration between all areas of the University for consistently being named a Military Friendly® University.

“MVRC staff members are either former service members or dependents who are working on or have completed degrees from UWF,” Milkeris said. “Their first-hand experience gives students that instant rapport and the ability to provide wrap-around services. The collaboration of all UWF departments working together allows the MVRC and our military-affiliated students better connections, closer relationships and ultimately academic success.”

Each year, UWF continues to implement new initiatives and programs to support military-affiliated students. Prior to Veterans Day, UWF and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation presented The Resilient Military Family event featuring Karen Kelly, wife of retired U.S. Marine Corps General John Kelly. The event, which included a panel discussion, shed light on the joys and challenges of military life.

In June, UWF’s College of Business hosted the U.S. Air Force Junior ROTC Flight Academy by partnering with AMS Flight School in Milton. The scholarship program was a collaborative effort between the aerospace industry and the Air Force to address the national pilot shortage.

Military Friendly® scored more than 1,800 schools that completed its survey by using an outside advisory council that provides perspective on criteria, methodology and weighting. A third-party auditor then verified the results.

Award levels are defined as:

  • Top 10 Gold – A ranked list of the Top 10 in a category based on a numerical score.
  • Gold – within 10% of the last ranked organization in Top 10 Gold.
  • Silver – within 20% of the last ranked organization in Gold.
  • Bronze – within 30% of the last ranked organization in Silver.
  • Designated – These organizations are deemed Military Friendly® based on survey results.

Military Friendly Schools recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate positive education outcomes for veterans and their families. Around 750 schools received Military Friendly® distinction for 2023-2024. To see a complete list of this year’s award winners, or to learn more about Military Friendly ratings and how to participate, visit

This ranking is another in a long list of accolades that distinguishes UWF as an institution committed to sustained success for veterans, active duty members of the armed forces, future Army and Air Force officers and other military affiliated students. Accolades include Military Friendly® University designation for over 10 years, Top 25 for Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report and Military Friendly Spouse School.

For more information about the Military and Veterans Resource Center, visit