UD Student Veteran Attends Leadership Institute

Oct 30, 2017 | Stacey Ortman, director of public information

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Dan Coffey, a first-year student majoring in computer forensics and security at the University of Dubuque, attended the Student Veterans of America’s (SVA) 2017 Leadership Institute on Oct. 19-22 at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. Sponsored by Prudential, the selective program brought together student veterans for intensive onsite leadership training.

“It is a testament to the wonderfully talented student veterans we have here at the University of Dubuque. Veterans bring an incredibly diverse background with them that contributes immensely to the educational experience here at the University of Dubuque,” said Rick Ernst (CSM, USA, Ret), veterans admission and assistance coordinator at UD. “We are proud of Dan Coffey and his selection.”

SVA’s Leadership Institute taught student veterans who are emerging leaders about personal leadership ethos and showcased how to apply those leadership ethos, according to the institute’s website.

“Our core values define us, and all of our decisions are based on those values,” said Coffey, adding. “You need to find your why. Why you do something or believe something is more important than what you do, or how you do it. When others can understand why, it resonates more with them emotionally. Once you can define your core values and why you do or believe something, you can define your vision of leadership. Your leadership vision will provide the framework for how you will provide guidance and direction to your organization.”

During the institute, former President George W. Bush spoke to the student veterans. It was a speech Coffey, of Cuba City, Wisconsin, will never forget.

“President Bush’s appearance was definitely the biggest moment of the institute. He spoke to us for about an hour and a half on topics ranging from the earliest moments after 9/11, to qualities of a good leader, to his passion for painting portraits of veterans,” Coffey said.

Coffey served in the Army from 2008 to 2015. He spent six years in Fort Hood, Texas, where he was deployed to Iraq twice. In 2013, Coffey was reassigned to Fort Riley, Kansas, where he served until he was medically retired. He is seeking a college education at UD after he was unemployed in January.

“When I realized that my lack of college education was holding me back from finding my dream job, I knew it was time to go back to school,” Coffey said. “I quickly found out that computer and network security was the next big thing in technology, and I was perfectly suited to that career. University of Dubuque offers the exact degree program I was looking for to solve that problem.”

After graduation, Coffey plans to work as a contractor providing security auditing and penetration testing services to companies large and small.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to attend the Student Veterans of America’s 2017 Leadership Institute,” Coffey said. “I would not have been able to attend this great event without the support of UD Vets and the University of Dubuque.  I am looking forward to providing my newfound leadership knowledge wherever the need can be filled.”