Houston Christian University (HCU) alumnus, Cody Harrington ’20, a U.S. Army combat veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, was recently named a “2023 Veteran Champion of the Year in Higher Education” in G.I. Jobs 2023-2024 Military Friendly® Schools fall issue.
Each year the magazine recognizes 40 individuals who go above and beyond to help student veterans and their families succeed in education. Harrington was deeply honored to be among the individuals from across the nation to be recognized.
“This recognition serves as a reminder of the incredible privilege and responsibility that comes with advocating for the well-being of our veterans. I am committed to continuing my efforts to support and uplift those who have served our country. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of our veterans,” said Harrington.
As Assistant Director of International and Veteran Student Services at HCU, Harrington is driven by a strong desire to meet the needs of veterans as they pursue their college degrees.
Before his official workday begins, he joins veteran trainers for early morning exercise as he oversees the Veteran Physical Training program to make sure workout plans meet the needs of student veterans.
After a busy morning of ensuring students are certified for G.I. Bill benefits and that courtesy calls are made to prospective students to provide instructions on using their benefits, he shifts his focus to developing workshops and scheduling discipleship appointments to enrich the spiritual lives of the veterans he serves.
By the end of the day, he has attended various veteran organization support group meetings and offered guidance and a listening ear to student needs.
“I serve as an advocate and resource for veterans, ensuring they have access to the support they need for a successful academic year,” said Harrington.
Shannon Bedo, HCU’s Director of International and Veteran Student Services, believes Harrington is the ideal person to be named a “Veteran Champion of the Year” for his tireless efforts in serving the diverse needs of student veterans.
“He has built veteran services into a thriving community of veteran students who use available resources to increase veteran retention and a sense of community on campus. If he sees a challenge, he builds relationships and processes to exceed expectations,” said Bedo.
The HCU alum earned a degree in Biblical Studies in 2020 and works hard to ensure the student veterans in his care are equipped to achieve academic success and grow spiritually.
“Not only does Cody professionally build the veteran services program, but he personally ministers to many of the veterans by leading Bible studies, planning tailgates and other events … even working out with students early in the morning. It’s obvious that God brought Cody to HCU as a ministry to this specific group of students, and we are so blessed to have him on campus,” said Bedo.
Harrington’s goal is for HCU’s veteran student services department to become a model for other departments across the country.