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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Novice colonial brings veteran experience

Veteran Tommy Davis has been tasked with arduous, often intense missions in the Middle East.

His most recent mission? Graduating from GW.

Davis has spent the last six years in unwelcoming places, calling disaster-stricken Haiti and a war-torn Afghanistan his short-term homes, but at the beginning of his sophomore year, he finally feels at ease.

“I can go down the street, talk to anybody, ask them for directions how to get to a class, or ask them about anything around here and they are more than happy to talk to me. It’s not an environment I’m particularly used to, so it was very interesting,” said Davis.

While serving in the military, Davis learned basic Russian in the Ukraine, worked with international organizations to help with earthquake relief in Haiti and spent almost a year in Afghanistan – but he’s never graduated from college.

Davis was one of several incoming undergraduate and graduate students participating in the GW student veterans program.

“I guess what I want to say is that I might not look like you on the outside right now, but I sure identify with you on the inside,” student Veterans’ adviser and faculty member Paul Tchudi said.

Tchudi is also a Vietnam veteran and a professor in the Medicine and Health Sciences program.

“It took me nine years to get brave enough to step foot on a college campus,” said Tchudi, “But then college campuses were not the friendliest places.”

Tchudi said the program helps student veterans form a brand new community that can measure up to the military community that they left.

GW has been recognized by G.I. Jobs magazine as a “military friendly” institution in 2011, and Davis echoed their sentiment, providing an abundance of praise for the student veterans community.

“The support system that exists here, you really don’t see at other universities. Either because the veterans program doesn’t exist, or it’s minimal or guys are just trying to do their own thing. But I like the sense of community that’s here,” said Davis.

Davis described the application process as very smooth and exciting and said that his fellow student veterans were incredibly influential.

“I saw the support that was [at GWU] for all the veterans. Not only from the administration, but also the support that existed from other veterans,” said Davis, “It’s good to find people that you connect with and that’s mainly what made me much more comfortable with coming here.”

Davis feels his life experience has given him a greater appreciation for the education that he is receiving now.

Davis is a philosophy major with a minor in Russian, but he says he intends to pursue a future in international affairs.

“There’s a lot of music I haven’t heard before. Artists, celebrities that I’ve never heard of; TV that I’ve never seen before, that’s apparently popular. The strict environment that you were in is a lot different here, the kind of freedom that you have as a civilian is a very, very big difference,” said Davis.

This article was updated Sept. 6, 2011 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Tommy Davis was a freshman. He is a sophomore. We regret this error.

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