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Hello, my name is … Rita Case

For the new director of Veteran and Military Student Services, it’s an honor to help those who serve.

By Doug McPherson

November 11, 2019

Rita CaseRita Case knows the heartaches and joys of military life.

When her husband, Chris, was nearly killed after a bomb flipped his Army vehicle in Iraq, she became his full-time caregiver. Despite multiple surgeries, Chris was forced to retire from the military. To make ends meet, Rita Case joined the Navy in 2010.

She went on to work with the Naval Construction Battalions, or Seabees, the group that builds shelters, roads, bridges and landing strips for bases. During her service as a 2nd Class petty officer and logistics specialist, she came to understand how deep her husband’s sense of duty and loyalty truly ran. It’s also where she says she became “a part of something much bigger” than herself.

After active duty, Case joined the Navy Reserve and at the same time earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Denver and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Regis University. She had no trouble deciding on her ideal career track: helping military vets get their benefits and earn college educations. 

“Watching military veterans find their stride and become more confident makes me feel most fulfilled,” she said. “It’s an honor to be a part of their journey to the next chapter in their lives.”

In June, she joined Metropolitan State University of Denver as the new director of Veteran and Military Student Services. To honor Veteran’s Week, she spoke with the Early Bird about what drew her to the University and the position, and what she wants the campus community to understand about student veterans.

What appealed to you about leading Veteran and Military Student Services?

The level of accessibility here — being able to go beyond just (saying we’re) military-friendly — makes MSU Denver stand out from other universities. We go beyond cliché statements and truly serve those who served in a transformative way. Not only are we welcoming to those who served our country, but MSU Denver is a place where military-affiliated students can find academic programs and services that meet them where they are and directly relate to their future civilian careers.

What do you want to accomplish in your position?

We’re working toward a more holistic approach. Student veterans come to us with a wide range of needs that go beyond just their needs as students yet fully impact their ability to study. Introducing student veterans to both on- and off-campus services is a way we can connect them to resources that can help them thrive in their civilian lives.

What do you want the MSU Denver community to understand about student veterans?

The transition out of the military is difficult, and it can feel isolating. If you know of a student veteran who may be struggling with adjusting to campus culture, please connect them with the Military and Veteran Student Services office or the CARE (Consultation Assessment Referral Education) Team.

To learn more about supporting student veterans, visit the Veteran and Military Student Services website.

Topics: Hello, My Name Is

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