News Release from AASCU


Contact: Jennifer Walpole (202) 478-4665


(Washington, D.C.)—John R. Ballard, Ph.D., currently the dean of the National Defense College in the United Arab Emirates, has been appointed vice president for military and veterans partnerships/Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) director with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). His appointment is effective in mid-February, 2017.

In his new position, Ballard will implement the contract granted to AASCU by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), managing SOC and all of its projects and programs. Additionally, he will coordinate all AASCU activities, programs and research related to military and veteran student populations. He will also assist AASCU’s government relations division with the review, articulation and understanding of the impact of proposed legislation on military and veteran student populations.

Ballard began his career as a Marine infantry officer and has commanded at the company, battalion and group levels in both the active and reserve components. Ballard commanded Marines, Soldiers and Sailors in combat in Iraq, and was subsequently awarded several military decorations, including the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal, for his service during the War.

Ballard has also served in faculty and academic leadership positions at various higher education institutions around the world, including service as a dean in three different institutions. He is the author of numerous journal articles and six books.

“AASCU has proudly served the voluntary education needs of the military services, through the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, for almost 50 years,” said AASCU President Muriel Howard. “John’s outstanding credentials and breadth of expertise, in both the military and academia, will enable us to continue our high level of commitment to serve those who serve us.”

In accepting his appointment, Ballard said, “Our military and veterans exemplify all the best in America’s rich diversity and great potential, as do the public higher education institutions that comprise the AASCU membership; I am proud to serve both in their efforts to help make Americans more competitive and effective in today’s increasingly demanding global economy and ever more interconnected society.”

Ballard earned his B.S. at the United States Naval Academy, his M.A. at California State University, Dominquez Hills, and his Ph.D. at The Catholic University of America.


The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise of Opportunities for All.

Created in 1972 and funded by the Department of Defense (DOD), the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) program works in cooperation with the DOD, and active and reserve components of the U.S. military to expand and improve voluntary postsecondary education opportunities for service members worldwide.