MC receives $188K for military recruitment and support

MC receives $188K bequest for military recruitment and support

Feb. 3, 2020

Efforts to recruit and support veterans and military dependents at Maryville College got a shot in the arm recently, thanks to an unexpected bequest of $188,000.

The estate of Irene Evans of North Arlington, N.J., was settled recently, and student veteran programming at Maryville College was named one of four beneficiaries. Frank W. Jablonski ’65, a Maryville College graduate and attorney in Kearny, N.J., was executor of Evans’s will and had the responsibility of choosing veteran-associated non-profit organizations that would be the beneficiaries of her estate.

“I’m not sure what her connection was to veterans,” the attorney said, explaining that the only directive Evans gave in her 2004 will was to bequeath her estate to “veterans associations” that were “exempt from federal and state taxes.”

Evans, who died in November 30, 2018 at age 88, worked for Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, N.J., as an administrative assistant. She was predeceased by her husband, son and sisters.

For more than a year, Jablonski worked with Eric Bellah, Maryville College’s director of development, as well as Jim Humphrey, director of military recruiting and outreach, to gather information on the College’s programming for veterans and their dependents.

Jablonski said he learned about the College’s recent efforts to recruit and support veterans and their dependents by reading the College’s alumni magazine, FOCUS.

“It appeared to me that the College was trying to help veterans, and that the program there was worthy of giving money to,” he said. “I thought this money could provide a foundation for [college administrators] to build something stronger, something better. I would like this gift to serve as a challenge to other people to give.”

Veteran causes are personal to Jablonski, as he is a Vietnam-era veteran. Following graduation from Maryville, he enrolled at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Not long after earning his Juris Doctorate, he was drafted and served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps for four years.

The cause of Maryville College is personal, as well. In addition to MC being his alma mater, it is the school that numerous family members attended, including his wife, Joan Gillespie Jablonski ’65; brothers Tod Jablonski ’61 and  Fred Jablonski ’69; brother-in-law Frederick Gillespie ’73; and sister-in-law Lynn Gillespie Chater ’71.

“We have a long-standing relationship to Maryville College,” Frank said.

Gift will help meet goals

According to Alayne Bowman, the College’s vice president for admissions and financial aid, the money from the Evans bequest will be spent over three fiscal years and used to expand programming and staffing and boost recruitment of additional veterans and their dependents.

Bowman said the College’s population of military-related students totals about 50 every year, and administrators hope to double it by 2023.

“We are very appreciative of this estate gift and to Mr. Jablonski, who clearly believes that Maryville College is a worthy investment,” she said. “This gift will help us build on the momentum we have experienced recently with the veteran population.

“We frequently hear from these students that Maryville College is a great fit for them because of our focus on outcomes, academic reputation, close-knit community and affordability. Also, our faculty are eager to welcome veterans – their experiences and perspectives – into the classroom.”

Program gains recognition

The bequest is one of several recent endorsements of veteran programming at the College.

Since 2013, when the Maryville College Student Veterans Association (MCSVA) formed, the College has seen a growing student veteran population. Initiatives and recognitions have included joining the Education Pillar of the “Got Your 6” campaign, the U.S. Department of Education’s “8 Keys to Veterans’ Success” initiative and implementation of “Green Zone Training” for faculty and staff.

In 2015, the College opened the College’s Military Student Center in Bartlett Hall and was added to the Military Friendly® School list that same year.

The College was selected for two Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) Veteran Reconnect grants and in 2016, was named a THEC VETS campus.

In July 2019 and for the fourth time in four years, the College was listed among Viqtory Media’s Military Friendly ® Schools. U.S. News & World Report named Maryville No. 1 in the “Best Colleges for Veterans” category among regional Southern colleges in its 2020 rankings.

Maryville College (MC) accepts military Tuition Assistance (TA), Post 9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program benefits, TN Strong Act and other veteran educational benefits. Additionally, MC offers a unique level of support with its MC Helping Heroes Scholarship for those military members who have not accrued 100 percent of VA education benefits. The College also provides academic credit for formal military training, accommodations for those with disabilities and career placement assistance for veterans.

For more information about Maryville College’s student veteran program, visit the MC website or contact Jim Humphrey, director of military recruiting and outreach, at 865.981.8015 or

Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”