Vets salute what GCU military program does for them
By Jeannette Cruz
GCU Today Magazine
For Master Sergeant Steve Hall and many other veterans, Grand Canyon University is much more than a place to get an education. It’s also a haven for their restored sense of hope and purpose.
Hall retired from the Air Force in 2006 and found himself attempting to transition into an increasingly competitive civilian workforce at middle age without hands-on job skills or a college degree.
“My story is nothing unusual — I was in a situation like most military guys who get out, try to get a job and try to make a career out of that job, but I was facing the reality that I had to go back to school. I was freefalling like I had just been shot out of a cannon,” Hall said. “But GCU helped me find a second career.”
The Lewiston, Maine, native said his 25 years of military experience meant little to potential employers in Houston, where he lived. He regretted passing up on educational opportunities available during his time in the service. He prayed for divine intervention, and just when he thought he had run out of prospects, he got a call from a GCU recruiter, Matthew Dailey, that changed everything.
Dailey outlined the school’s plans to open a new military development team and hire veterans to work as military enrollment counselors. (Click here to read about the University’s Veterans Center.) Hall was hesitant, wondering how GCU had gotten his resumé and how likely the University would be to hire him without a college degree.
“Here I was in Texas getting a call from this guy in Arizona who is going on and on about (GCU President) Brian Mueller and his plan to expand the military community,” Hall said. “I think that phone call lasted about 35 minutes, and the entire time I kept thinking that we were going to come to a point when I was going to have to tell the person that I didn’t have a degree.”
He didn’t need to mention it — the recruiter already knew but believed Hall was worth the investment.
“I was flown out from Texas to GCU, and there were other men coming in from all parts of the country to establish this outreach team of service members who would then go back home and work at that region promoting higher education to the military populations,” Hall said. “It was incredible.”
Success for Hall and his family
Within three months of his employment at GCU, Hall enrolled as a student and transferred credits from colleges and military technical schools he had attended while serving on active duty. He completed his business degree in applied management in one year.
Since then, Hall has served men and women in the armed forces through several education and leadership positions. Currently, he is system director for Veteran Affairs and Veteran Services at Lone Star College in Houston.
Looking back on the experience, Hall said GCU was more than he ever could have hoped for. And, along with his own personal success, the most treasured part of his story is having a military family and children who all have completed or are in the process of earning their GCU degrees.
His oldest child, Chaunte Myers, said she and her brothers all got their inspiration from their father.
“It’s kind of funny how our dad ended up being all of our mentors,” said Myers, who has a bachelor’s in applied management and a master’s in public administration with an emphasis in American government and politics.
Myers also met her Army veteran husband, Jarod, who has a bachelor’s in applied management, at GCU.
Hall’s son Brandon, who is working on a bachelor’s in applied management, said although returning to school after serving in the Air Force for 11 years was intimidating, GCU has made the transition seamless and easy. He expects to graduate this summer.
Michael Hall, the youngest of the siblings and also an Air Force veteran, said he found GCU to be the steppingstone he needed to pursue a career in working for the federal government. He earned a bachelor’s in applied management followed up by a master’s in public administration.
Hall and his family have continued their bond with the armed forces through Centurion Military Alliance, a family-run, nonprofit organization that prepares, trains and educates transitioning service members and partners with GCU.
“We’re very specific about our partners, and GCU is one — not because we all graduated from there, but because we are confident that when we send our veterans to GCU they are going to be given a helping hand from beginning to end,” Myers said.
Added Steve Hall, “This has all happened because of the hand of God. Being the leader of the family, I got the message loud and clear about how important education was, and so did everyone on the team who was on board with me.
“As I learned about the education industry and began to speak to my kids about it, I watched one kid after another enroll and pursue their degrees through GCU.”
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.