William & Mary Law School recently announced the opening of the Office of Military & Veteran Affairs (OMVA) and named Visiting Professor of the Practice Michael Dick J.D. ’06, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel, as its director.
The mission of OMVA is to provide dedicated, focused and holistic support to students at William & Mary Law School who are veterans, active duty or Reserve forces personnel. The OMVA also serves as the centralized font of information and coordinator of support for such students to improve their educational experience, maximize their contributions to W&M Law School and support their successful transition to the law school and the legal profession.
“Professor Dick has served in this capacity informally, mentoring and being there as a resource for our military veteran students,” said A. Benjamin Spencer, dean and trustee professor and a major in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. “We wanted to officially support his tireless work and take it to the next level by establishing the Office of Military & Veteran Affairs.”
Among Dick’s duties as OMVA director are identifying the unique needs of student veterans and active duty/Reserve students; linking these students with the appropriate William & Mary resources; and coordinating with key offices at the law school on matters specific to current and prospective student veterans and active duty/reserve students.
Dick will also chair a committee of student veterans, active duty/Reserve students, faculty and staff personnel to assist in identifying and proposing specific solutions to challenges faced by student veterans and active duty/Reserve students. He will also plan and conduct appropriate events to promote camaraderie and introduce students to specific William & Mary resources, offices and key layers focused on veteran and military issues.
Dick will also participate in the William & Mary Veteran-to-Executive Advisory Group and raise funds to develop resources capable of augmenting support for activities for student veterans and active duty/Reserve personnel.
Reporting to W&M Law School’s associate dean for student affairs and academic support, Dick will remain a faculty member and continue co-directing the Lewis B. Puller Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic. He will also continue to teach courses closely related to military and national security issues such as courses on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Law of War.
Dick was also appointed to the Virginia Board of Veterans Services by Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2016 and currently serves as chair of the board.
Long celebrated as military-friendly, William & Mary Law School’s location near military installations in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia ensures that a high number of service members attend as law students. And they put their leadership skills to use at every turn.
“Military students fit right in, build a good support system for each other, and emerge with great success,” Spencer said. “Adding the OMVA will take our mentoring to new levels of excellence for our military and non-military students alike.”
For Dick, entering law school after more than 26 years as an active-duty Marine was a decidedly new challenge.
“While the faculty, staff, and fellow students warmly embraced military and student veterans, the vastly different experiences of the military and student veterans present unique challenges that require a dedicated and focused support structure,” Dick said. “The presence of such students greatly enriches the academic environment, and I am convinced that efforts to ensure veterans and military students have the maximum opportunity to succeed will benefit the entire law school. This office (OMVA) is a great initial step in the right direction.”