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Keynote Speakers

Thursday Keynote

J. Michael Haynie

Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation

Syracuse University

J Michael Haynie

Dr. Mike Haynie is the Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives & Innovation at Syracuse University. In that role, he is responsible for a diverse portfolio of academic programs, centers, and innovation initiatives. Before beginning his academic career, Haynie served 14 years as an officer in the Air Force. Shortly after arriving at Syracuse University in 2006, Haynie created the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program at SU’s Whitman School of Management. Haynie later went on to launch the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at the nation’s first, interdisciplinary academic institute focused purposefully on informing and impacting the policy, economic, wellness, and social concerns of the nation’s veterans and their families.

Dr. Haynie currently serves as an appointed member of the U.S. Secretary of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Veterans’ Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach, and as a member of the advisory committee for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Veterans Coming Home project. In 2015, U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs Bob McDonald appointed Haynie to serve as the vice chairman of the newly created MyVA Advisory Committee, a Presidential Task Force chartered to set the course for long-term excellence and reform at the Department of Veteran Affairs.


Friday Keynote

Brent Theobald

Senior Director of Development

Vanguard University

Brent Theobald

Brent served with the United States Marine Corps for three combat deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. As a member of the elite Marine Force Reconnaissance Company, Brent was among the first American boots on the ground in Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He served in a Special Operations Capable (SOC) Team in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and trained counter-terrorism units in the Horn of Africa as member of a five-man detachment that was in direct support of Special Operations Command, Central Command.

Brent is proud to say that he is a product of the Community College System. He is a strong advocate for veterans in higher education and his efforts directly led to the opening of a Veteran Resource Center at Golden West College and Vanguard University.