Program History

Naval Training Unit on Quad, 1943

Over the past century, scores of Occidental College alumni, both men and women, have served their country with great distinction in all branches of the U.S. military. 

At least 65 Oxy alumni gave their lives in service to their country in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Their names are inscribed on memorial tablets at the entrance to Choi Auditorium in the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs in Johnson Hall. Occidental was home to a U.S. Navy V-12 training program during World War II; after the war, the College built special housing on campus to accommodate the large number of veterans who enrolled, many bringing their families.

Occidental participates in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program. For qualifying veterans, Occidental’s contribution covers full tuition. The Barack Obama Scholars Program was launched in 2017 to empower the next generation of leaders to actively pursue the public good. Scholars are selected with an emphasis on first-generation students, community college transfers and veterans. The College was proud to honor veteran Cameron Peters ’18 as its first Obama Scholars Fellow. Occidental is consistently named a Military Friendly® School, a designation awarded to the top colleges that are doing the most to embrace student veterans.