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Three University of Minnesota students chosen as Tillman Military Scholars

July 23, 2012

The University of Minnesota and Pat Tillman Foundation are pleased to announce that three students have been selected as Tillman Military Scholars for the 2012-2013 academic year. They are:

•    Capt. Amber Manke was among a small group of female officers deployed in Kuwait in support of Operation New Dawn, which she counts among the most rewarding experiences of her military service. She plans to remain in the Guard for the foreseeable future with plans to become a National Guard Training Officer and to eventually pursue a management human resources position with the Guard.
•    Capt. Nicholas Swaggert graduated from Iowa State University with a B.A. in political science. He joined the Marine Corps in 2005 and was deployed twice as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now a full-time student at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, he aspires to one day serve the community as an appointed public official.
•    Army spouse Laura Tillman earned a B.S. in nursing at the University of Minnesota in 2009 and is currently pursuing an advanced degree to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. She plans to use her nursing background to work on impacting health care legislation in order to ensure access to affordable health care for everyone.

The University of Minnesota is one of 14 campuses serving as a Tillman Military Scholar University Partner for the 2012-2013 academic year. University Partners are selected based on their innovative service member-specific support services and proven culture of community for military families.

As a University Partner, each institution conducts outreach to its veteran, military member and military spouse student population and actively participates in the Tillman Military Scholar selection process. Upon selection of Tillman Military Scholars on campus, each then supports the building of community among these students, strengthening their academic and personal experience.

“With the increasing number of veterans, military members and their families coming to the University of Minnesota as students, we’ve built a strong Veterans Services office that provides assistance student veterans need,” said Carin Anderson, manager of University Veteran Services in Academic Support Resources. “Now, as a Tillman Military Scholar University Partner, we can build on that success. We are proud and honored to have three Tillman Military Scholars among our students this year.”

In 2008, the Pat Tillman Foundation established the Tillman Military Scholars program to support educational opportunities for service members and military families by bridging the financial gaps left by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Military families face numerous challenges during the transition from military to civilian life and have unique needs that often prevent successfully completing a degree. As a result, Tillman Military Scholars receive financial support to not only cover traditional study-related expenses such as tuition and books, but also other needs, including but not limited to: housing, transportation and childcare. In providing this support, the Pat Tillman Foundation aims to remove any and all obstacles that would otherwise prohibit academic success.

Over the past four years, the Pat Tillman Foundation has awarded more than $3.2 million in scholarship funds to 230 Tillman Military Scholars pursuing education at every level from freshmen undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates. Overall, Tillman Military Scholars represent 71 different institutions across 34 states.

“We received 1,280 applicants this year and, with support from our selection committee, narrowed these applicants down to 59 outstanding candidates to join the fourth class of Tillman Military Scholars,” said Hunter I. Riley, director of programs at the Pat Tillman Foundation. “These Scholars represent leadership in the military, classroom and community and we’re proud to invest in their education and support them in making a positive impact into the future.”
About the Pat Tillman Foundation
Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Pat’s death in 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. Created to honor Pat’s legacy and pay tribute to his commitment to leadership and service, the Pat Tillman Foundation is a national leader in providing educational support and resources to veterans, active service members and their spouses. Inspired by Pat’s attributes of leadership, passion for education and spirit of service, the Foundation annually awards educational scholarships through the Tillman Military Scholars program. To date, the Foundation has provided over $3.2 million in scholarships to 230 active service members, veterans and dependents. For more information, visit:

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