USD’S ALUMNI VETERAN NETWORK KEEPS TOREROS CONNECTED
While deployed to Afghanistan in 2004 as a Navy SEAL, Colin Supko’s teammate received word that his wife had been robbed at gunpoint while selling a car through an online classifieds site. A seed was planted that day, and germinated for more than 10 years.
“The last thing deployed service members should have to worry about is loved ones at home being robbed or scammed,” says Supko, a 2012 graduate of USD’s Masters in Global Leadership program.
Armed with knowledge gained while attending the School of Business, he created www.PatriotList.us, a social marketplace in which every member has been verified through the Department of Defense. The result is a peer-to-peer network built specifically for military and veteran families.
The University of San Diego has nearly 3,000 veterans in its alumni ranks. They live throughout the U.S. and around the world, but they have more in common than service to the armed forces; they’re also proud Toreros.
In 2015, the Alumni Association launched the Alumni Veteran Network (AVN), an organization created by and for veteran graduates. Its leadership includes a former Navy SEAL who’s now an entrepreneur, a former Marine officer who’s now a financial advisor and a former surface warfare officer who’s now a management consultant.
Networking for and among veterans is crucial for those in job-search mode or for those looking to make a career transition. The AVN serves as a vehicle to connect alumni veterans with one another, regardless of where they are in their careers. The group also aims to connect alumni veterans back to USD in a way that’s meaningful to them: by supporting current USD veteran students and USD’s Veterans Center. In partnership with the Alumni Association, the AVN offers a number of events throughout the year, including networking socials and an entrepreneurship series.
“Military and veteran families already keep faith with one another and prefer to do business with each other. We’re just making that easier,” Supko says about PatriotList. That sentiment rings true with the AVN, but the group also enables alumni to connect with the tens of thousands of fellow Toreros around the world who can help to support their transition into the civilian workforce.
In recent years, the university has rallied around its veteran students and alumni more than ever. Proceeds from this year’s Founders Gala, which takes place over Veterans Day weekend, will establish a new, endowed scholarship fund dedicated to student veterans. Operation Hat Trick, an effort to raise awareness and support for wounded service members and veterans, adds to that effort. These are just a few of the ways that USD continues to show its appreciation for its service members. — Kara Marsh Proffitt ‘04
Alumni veterans like Colin Supko ’12 (MSGL), pictured above, keep connected to one another through USD’s Alumni Veteran Network, which was established in 2015. Photo credit: Chris Michel.