Veteran Mentors at UConn

Members of UConn's Veterans Community are honored to serve as resources to students and faculty and staff who are seeking some advice and/or guidance from a fellow veteran on-campus. 

Please feel free to contact these individuals listed below. No question is too big or too small. 

Each of them work at the University of Connecticut and are familiar with the inner workings of campus in addition to having experienced first-hand the transition from the military.

John Armstrong, Director of Off-Campus and Student Commuter Services, Army Veteran

Background

John Armstrong has worked at UConn since 2001 where he has held leadership roles in Residential Life, Facilities Operations and Community Standards. He is currently the Director of Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services.  Through this role he serves as UConn’s liaison to the Faith Communities, Town Officials and State Police. Armstrong is a member of the Veteran’s Advisory Council and has been a long standing instructor for the First Year Experience class (FYE). John Armstrong joined the U.S. Army in 1986 and completed his Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.  Following his training, he was assigned to the 28th Transportation Battalion, 69th Transportation Company in Bremerhaven, Germany as a member of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps.  During this time, he participated in multiple NATO led Reforger (Return of Forces to Germany) Campaigns across Germany during the Cold War; the 1988 Reforger “Certain Challenge” proving to be one of the largest European ground maneuvers since World War II.  Armstrong was fortunate to have served in Germany and witness a historical turning point of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 which marked the end of communism is Eastern Europe and the Cold War. Armstrong left the military in February 1990, returned to his home state of Maine and started his career as a student at the University of Maine that fall.  In January 1991, the United States entered Operation Desert Storm and Armstrong was ordered back to active duty via a Presidential Executive Order through the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).  Armstrong left UMAINE and reported to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for training and to await deployment to the Middle East. Operation Desert Storm concluded at the end of February 1991 and Armstrong returned to civilian life and completed his undergraduate degree at UMAINE and a Master’s degree in education at Springfield College.

Michael Bradford, Vice Provost for Faculty, Staff, and Student Development, Navy Veteran

Background

Prior to his position as Vice Provost, Michael Bradford served as the Artistic Director of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre and Head of the Dramatic Arts Department at UConn.  He served in the Navy for 10 years and he was an electrician on a submarine for part of that time and the other part he was a MP (military policeman).  When he was in the Navy, he went to see a play, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and that experience inspired him to write plays.  Once he left the Navy, he pursued his education at the UConn Avery Point Campus and then pursued his MFA (Master’s of Fine Arts) at Brooklyn College.  Michael Bradford’s career as a playwright has taken him all around the U.S., the U.K., Spain, Portugal, Romania and Cuba.  He is an award-winning playwright and is considered “one of the most promising African American playwrights today.” (UConn Today, 2018)

Steven Fletcher, IT Manager, Information Technology Services, Air Force Veteran

Background

Steven Fletcher served in the Air Force as an explosive detector dog handler from 1994 to 1998 in Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Bosnia.  He continued to serve in the Air Force Reserves in Security Forces/Combat Arms from 1998 to 2002 when he separated from military service due to a service-connected medical injury.  Upon leaving the military, Steven earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Information Systems and then a Master’s degree in Educational Technology.  He’s been working the past 20 years in information technology, audio video, and Learning Space design.

Eric Kruger, V.P. Facilities, UConn Health, Navy Veteran

Background

Eric Kruger is the Executive Director of UConn Facilities Operations and has been at UConn since June 2014.  Eric specifically oversees the skilled trade shops at the Storrs Campus, all of the Facilities Operations at the Regional Campuses, and Facilities Operational Engineering for all campuses.  Prior to working at UConn Eric spent seven years with Eversource as a Manager in Operations and Engineering.  Eric is a retired Senior Chief Petty Officer – EMCS(SS) from the United States Naval Submarine Force and holds a BSAST in Nuclear Engineering Technology from Thomas Edison State College, an MA in History from Southern New Hampshire University, and an MBA from UConn.

Joseph Tinnel, Assistant Director, CLAS Academic Services Center, Army Veteran

Background

Joseph Tinnel is the Assistant Director of the CLAS Academic Services Center, and is the Academic Advisor for the Mathematics Department at the Storrs Campus. Joe served in the Connecticut Army National Guard for 6 years, was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2 years, and has been a member of the UConn community since 2006.

Ed Weingart, Director, Dramatic Arts Department, Army Veteran

Background

Ed served in the CT Army National Guard from 2000 to 2009. In January 2003, Ed joined the 143rd MP Company, and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Kuwait and Baghdad, Iraq. After one year they returned home to CT as the most highly decorated National Guard Unit in US history. Upon Ed’s return, he transferred to the 102d Army Band as a drummer, guitar player, MC, and sound engineer. Ed also volunteered to rejoin the 143rd MP Company on their humanitarian relief mission to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. His awards include the Humanitarian Service Medal, Combat Action Badge, and Army Commendation Medal for valor. Ed describes his transition from the military as “far from seamless.” At 21, after returning from overseas, Ed bought a house and started college at UConn. During his first semester he suffered from PTSD and really struggled academically. However, once he transferred to the Department of Dramatic Arts, he found his career path and a job he loved, which really helped with the transition.  The leadership training and experience Ed gained from the military uniquely prepared him for his career as Technical Director since he has to manage people and lead a team to build the sets for shows.  He currently serves as the Head of the Dramatic Arts Department at UConn.