McFeely named first senior director for Veterans Affairs and Services

October 20, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State announced Oct. 20, that Col. Eugene L. McFeely has been named the University’s first senior director for Veterans Affairs and Services. He will begin in his role in January.

In his new position, McFeely will provide overall leadership in the development, planning, execution and coordination of services and programs to optimize and meet the needs of Penn State’s community of veteran students. He will report to the Office of the President through Vice President for Administration Thomas G. Poole.

“I’m really honored to be part of the team that will ensure that our veteran students get the most out of their Penn State experience, and as a result of that experience, that they are set up to succeed in whatever path they choose once they leave here,” said McFeely, a 1989 Penn State alumnus in electrical engineering. “We have so many good services and programs to support them while they’re here, and we want to make sure that our students know about everything — academic and otherwise — that is available to them.”

More than 4,500 students at University Park and throughout the University’s Commonwealth Campuses, as well as Penn State World Campus, have direct military ties as either an active-duty service member, a reservist, veteran or military dependent. Penn State is recognized by many organizations and publications as a top military-friendly university.

“We have so many good services and programs to support [veterans] while they’re here, and we want to make sure that our students know about everything — academic and otherwise — that is available to them."

— Col. Eugene L. McFeely, senior director for Veterans Affairs and Services

Penn State President Eric Barron created a similar position in his former role as president of Florida State University. Discussions with Penn State’s student veterans uncovered a need for a director for Veterans Affairs and Services here, too.

“We’re proud and pleased to welcome Col. McFeely to his new role at Penn State,” said Barron. “He brings to the position more than 27 years in the United States Air Force and more than 22 years of experience, in the military and at the University, assessing and mentoring cadets, junior officers and enlisted airmen.

“Penn State is already well recognized as a top destination for the nation’s veteran students; under Col. McFeely’s leadership we will ensure that we continue to deliver highly coordinated, integrated services to our veteran student population. It remains our goal to help them in the transition from the military to University life, and ultimately into rewarding and fulfilling careers.”

McFeely will be responsible for coordinating the various units that provide services and administer programs to veterans; advocating for and increasing the visibility of veteran student services and benefits through the implementation of innovative programs and new approaches; and developing events to recognize the service of veterans to the nation. He will collaborate with key university stakeholders to recommend policies and procedures as needed, and serve as liaison to develop and maintain relationships with key veterans’ organizations and engage with professional societies, as appropriate.

Veteran services at Penn State -- currently located in Educational Equity, World Campus, Student Affairs and elsewhere -- will remain in their current administrative homes, but work collaboratively with McFeely to coordinate efforts.

“Penn State has great meaning for me and my family in many different ways, not only because of our positive learning experiences,” said McFeely, who met his wife, Alexandra, when they were both students at the University. “I was excited about the opportunity to come back and be part of the ROTC program — I had a lot of good mentors, and I always wanted to end up back here, back in the program. I experienced firsthand how big of an impact the folks who are teaching the cadets have, and I wanted to make that impact. I’m very excited about this new opportunity to remain part of the Penn State team and to continue to serve our students.”

For the last two years, McFeely has served as Penn State professor of aerospace studies and commander of Detachment 720 in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC), responsible for recruiting, educating, training and motivating officer candidates for the U.S. Air Force, and the largest of its kind in the Big Ten Conference. In addition to teaching ROTC sophomores and seniors, for two years he was the ROTC joint service coordinator, responsible for collaboration between the three Penn State ROTC units, the University, and outside organizations, to improve the quality of life, academic excellence, and training for cadets in the ROTC programs.

“Penn State is already well recognized as a top destination for the nation’s veteran students; under Col. McFeely’s leadership we will ensure that we continue to deliver highly coordinated, integrated services to our veteran student population."

-- Penn State President Eric Barron

As academic adviser for undergraduates in the ROTC program, McFeely conducted cadet counseling sessions and advocated for undergraduates on a wide range of student issues, helping students gain access to resources and services. He has served as faculty adviser for student organizations and also engaged students to collaborate on memorial ceremonies and military appreciation events.

Before joining Penn State, from 2012 to 2014, he was director of operations at Air Force Central Command at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, serving as a primary adviser for airpower operations in the Middle East/Afghanistan. From 2011 to 2012, he served as vice commander of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. He is a master navigator with more than 3,350 flying hours in the F-15E and flew 215 combat missions during operations Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom.

From 2009 to 2011, he was deputy director of force planning in the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, in the Homeland Defense and America’s Security Affairs division. He also was commander of the 336th Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina; and division chief of the 607th Combat Plans Squadron at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

He currently serves on Penn State’s Undergraduate Education Council, the Military Honor Cord Committee, and the Executive Steering Committee for Security Collaboration, as well as the Military Appreciation Executive Committee.

McFeely received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Penn State and graduated from the University’s ROTC program in 1989, entering the U.S. Air Force and earning his wings in 1990. He earned a master of aeronautical science in aviation management degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, in 2002; a master of arts degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, in 2004; and a master of strategic studies degree from the Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 2009.

  • Col. Eugene McFeely

    Col. Eugene L. McFeely

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 20, 2016