LMU’s Annual Veterans Appreciation Week features a lineup of events and programming celebrating and honoring our alumni, faculty, and staff who have served in the military.
LMU is committed to creating a welcoming environment for veterans and the university’s efforts have been recognized by US News & World Reports. LMU is #37 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 rankings of “Best Colleges for Veterans.”
We are proud of our current BCLA undergraduate student veterans who have made important contributions to our country and our BCLA community. This past Veterans Day, we took the time to learn more about them.
Austin Dollens grew up in Lancaster, CA. His grandfather was a Marine in Korea, his dad was a Marine in the 80’s, and most men in his family had served. To Austin, military service was something the young men in his family did and he felt compelled to join in the tradition. He enlisted in 2014 at the age of nineteen and joined the Marine Corps because he wanted the chance to travel, develop camaraderie, blow stuff up, and rock the Marine’s dress blues. Austin enjoyed serving as an Assaultman, an infantry soldier utilizing rocket launchers and explosives. After his service, Austin went back to community college to earn his Associate Degree in Political Science. He then worked in private security as a bomb dog handler, utilizing his knowledge of explosives and making the full transition into civilian life. He now studies International Relations at LMU and participates in the Ski club, Brew club, the Student Veteran Organization, and Muy Thai club on campus. After graduating, Austin intends to work private security until his dog retires and then enter into law enforcement.
“I became an expert in this form of combat, advising officers and senior enlisted on the usage of explosives and rockets for attack plans.” – Austin Dollens
Kevin Gonzalez grew up in Inglewood, CA and had known about Loyola Marymount most of his life. He was a full-time student and working part-time before he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps in 2013 at the age of nineteen. He had considered joining the military as a way to be part of something bigger, to serve his country, to have a family outside of his family, and to reap the many benefits military service has to offer. He worked in aviation, in part to have a skill that would be easily transferable to civilian life, and worked on and tested turbo-shaft jet engines. After his service, he got his Associate Degree at a community college then transferred to LMU to study Political Science. Upon graduation, he hopes to work for a federal or state department in public policy in order to help bring a positive change to his community.
“I sought to be a part of something bigger than me, a family outside of my family; I wanted to serve my country.” – Kevin Gonzalez
Keon Maluia comes from a large military family with service that goes back to the draft of his great grandfather for World War I. Both of his uncles served in the Vietnam War and cousins on both sides of the family served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Keon’s family history of military service and 9/11 greatly influenced his decision to join the military. Before joining, he participated in JROTC, played baseball and practiced Tae Kwon Do. At the age of seventeen, he decided to continue his family’s military legacy and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2011. When choosing a branch, he was drawn to the legacy and pride of the Marine Corps and served as a 0352 Anti-Tank Infantry Missileman, responsible for destroying armored enemy targets, buildings and bunkers. After four years of service, Keon enrolled in El Camino Community College before transferring to LMU in fall 2018 to major in Political Science. His long-term goal upon graduating is to go to law school and become an Assistant US Attorney.
“My great-grandfather was drafted in WWI and both my uncles served in the Vietnam War.” – Keon Maluia