Illinois State University is committed to supporting those that are military-connected such as veterans, active-duty personnel, National Guard, reservists, and military spouses. As part of the University’s diversity initiative, a new military affinity group for faculty and staff joined the campus this fall.

“A military affinity group will offer an opportunity for those who are military-connected to get together with other faculty and staff who share a commonality,” said Army National Guard veteran and University Registrar Jess Ray. The group isn’t just for those who are veterans or current military. “We have faculty and staff members who are married to someone in the military, they can benefit as well,” he said.

An initial interest meeting was held with those that have served in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and as part of the Reserves and National Guard. “The group consensus was evident in that our primary aim will be to support Illinois State University military-connected students by way of mentoring, resourcing, and providing opportunities for networking via social activities,” said Antony Joseph, task force member and assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

The group also wants to help faculty and staff gain military cultural competency and assist the institution in recruiting and retaining those who are veterans and/or associated to someone in the military.

As a result of the initial meeting, a task force was created to establish a mission statement and the overall structure of the group. In addition, the task force will assist a larger group of volunteers with selection of an official name, crafting initial policies and procedures, and nominating and electing officers.

For more information on the military affinity group, or to get involved, contact Jess Ray at