CCJ academic success specialist honored for going extra mile for military, veterans

Anthony “Tony” Bess effectively worked to make sure a student who was facing military deployment was able to complete class requirements. That go-between role, exceeding expectations in service to active military and veterans working toward degrees, helped place Bess on the ASU Pat Tillman Veterans Center Honor Roll.

Bess, an ASU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice (SCCJ) academic success specialist for more than three years, was nominated by Danielle Snyder, an ASU assistant military advocate. In her citation, Snyder said that, in her role as an advocate for the university’s military-affiliated population, “it is rare that I come upon someone who embodies what it means to be a military supportive school.”

An instructor reached out to Bess regarding a student in the U.S. military who was going to be deployed for about a month and a half in the middle of the semester. Bess advocated for the student, saying that ASU has a military-friendly policy. He encouraged the instructor to “find a way to work with the student as best they can and still keep the integrity of the class,” according to the citation. An accommodation was reached because of Bess’ efforts.

Bess copied the Tillman Center in the email that he sent to the instructor for follow-up regarding paperwork the student might need to fill out for a short leave of absence. That email led the Tillman Center to recognize what Bess had done and nominated him for the award, said Shawn Banzhaf, senior military advocate at the Tillman Center.

Banzhaf developed the Honor Roll, into which Bess was inducted Sept. 17. Banzhaf said it was “developed to bring the tradition of awards from the military to ASU.” The honor is meant to recognize staff, faculty and students who are helping make ASU not only a military friendly school, but a military supportive school, Banzhaf said.

Bess said although he’s not a “big attention person,” he appreciates the honor.

“It is nice to be recognized when you've taken care of a student and help them in the best way possible,” he said. “Because that’s why we’re here, to help students and to help them move along in their programs.”

Written by Susan Wong of the ASU Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions marketing communications department.

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