Benz Armstrong on her newest mission: TU

By Reiko Gallo '18 on October 4, 2017

New director of TU’s Military & Veterans Center brings her “boots to books” passion for military affiliated students

From left: Benz Armstrong, TU President Kim Schatzel, Chuck Ritz and Tracy Miller. Ritz, co-founder of The Hope and Peace Foundation, brought the 9/11 Rolling Thunder Memorial to Newell Field for a special ceremony.
From left: Benz Armstrong, TU President Kim Schatzel, Chuck Ritz and Tracy Miller. Ritz, co-founder of The Hope and Peace Foundation, brought the 9/11 Rolling Thunder Memorial to Newell Field for a special ceremony.

Now approaching her fourth month serving as director of Towson University’s Military and Veterans Center, Benz Armstrong has known since her time as an undergraduate student at University of Baltimore (UB) she wanted to reach military affiliated students to help their transition from “boots to books.”

Serving eight years in the U.S. Army, Armstrong's experiences have shaped her into a better leader and advocate. Since serving as a senior security engineer, she has been an undergraduate student at UB, a coordinator of UB’s Parsons Veterans Center, and now the director of the Military and Veterans Center at TU.

“Upon my graduation, I had the chance to either go back to the government sector or be the coordinator for The Bob Parsons Veterans Center,” Armstrong explained. “I knew in my heart that I wanted to be leading fellow veterans in college. I haven’t looked back since.”

Armstrong then made the decision to bring her skills to TU, which allows her to reach a larger student population.

“A larger institution meant more visibility, funding, outreach and a bigger population of both students and faculty,” Armstrong said. “My main mission is advocating for military affiliated students, while raising awareness of military culture and the needs of that student population.”

One of her major foci is enhancing the visibility of the center to this population of students by creating awareness of the services and benefits that are offered on campus, including a safe space for students.

As the center continues to grow in size, Armstrong hopes to transform it into an area better suited to meet the needs of the growing population.

Armstrong has even found an innovative way to help expand the university’s veterans presence with a new VA Work Study Program. Through the program, the TU Military and Veterans Center has hired five veteran students to work in the center.

“I am hoping to eventually move to a larger place,” Armstrong said. “Currently, the center has new appliances, furniture, fresh paint, and a reception desk on the way!”

The center is wrapping up its first Week of Valor celebration, which included an appreciation banner, networking opportunities, movie nights, an obstacle course activity and luncheon.

Learn more about Towson University’s Military and Veterans center and visit them in Psychology Building, Room 107.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel's priorities for Towson University: Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Campus