Ahead of Memorial Day, Pat Tillman Foundation Announces Fifth Class of Tillman Military Scholars

Featured Media, Press Releases | 01/16/2014

More than $1 Million Awarded to 60 Student Veterans and Military Spouses Committed to Pat’s Legacy of Leadership and Service

Tempe, AZ (May 22, 2013) – After an extensive selection process, the Pat Tillman Foundation is proud to welcome the fifth class of Tillman Military Scholars to the Tillman Community this Memorial Day. Through the Tillman Military Scholars program, 60 military veterans and spouses representing 41 academic institutions will be awarded nearly $1.4 million in scholarship support in recognition of their service, leadership and academic excellence. To commemorate Memorial Day, the fifth class of Tillman Military Scholars will ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, May 24th.


“We’re proud to award educational scholarships to enrich the lives of our nation’s military veterans and their spouses. The Tillman Military Scholars program plays a vital role in transitioning veterans into civilian life by fueling their potential as leaders and game changers when they return home,” said Marie Tillman Shenton, president and co-founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation. “During his life, Pat refused to standby on the sidelines as an athlete and a soldier, and each Tillman Military Scholar embodies the principles of service, learning and action that he lived by everyday. These men and women are the determined few who stepped forward to lead when duty called. Through their studies in medicine, foreign affairs, urban planning and more, they are building on Pat’s legacy of leadership and creating their own to impact and inspire our country for years to come.”


In 2008, the Pat Tillman Foundation established the Tillman Military Scholars program to support educational opportunities for service members and military families by bridging the financial gaps left by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Military families face numerous challenges during the transition from military to civilian life and have unique needs that often prevent successfully completing a degree. Tillman Military Scholars receive financial support to not only cover traditional study-related expenses such as tuition and books, but also other needs, including but not limited to housing, transportation and childcare. In providing this support, the Pat Tillman Foundation aims to remove obstacles that would otherwise prohibit academic and career success.

The Tillman Military Scholarship is not a gift; it is an investment in excellence and potential. Over the past five years, the Pat Tillman Foundation has awarded nearly $4.1 million in scholarship funds to 290 Tillman Military Scholars pursuing education at every level from freshmen undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates. Overall, Tillman Military Scholars represent 90 different academic institutions nationwide.

Second Lieutenant Sean Inkelaar-Cruz, who is pursuing a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Southern California, is one of the members of the fifth class of Tillman Military Scholars. After deploying to Iraq with the 101st Airborne, Inkelaar-Cruz left a 10-year career as a Non-Commissioned Officer to pursue higher education and commission as an officer in the California Army National Guard. A Los Angeles native, he intends to leverage his military training and studies in urban planning to redesign metropolitan transportation systems, so veterans and wounded warriors have greater access to education, jobs, health care and recreation.

“It is a tremendous honor to carry Pat Tillman’s name and even more a responsibility to live up to his legacy, values and work ethic. As a Tillman Military Scholar, I strive to be a visible, positive influence for my community and especially, for fellow veterans, service members and military families,” said Inkelaar-Cruz. “I am not blessed with the physical talents that Pat was, but we share the common principles of leading when called to duty, volunteering for missions that others would walk away from, striving to better humanity one day at a time, and making a significant difference with our lives while we can.”

Meet the Class of 2013

An interactive map that demonstrates the national reach of the Tillman Military Scholars program is featured online where Tillman supporters can track the academic goals, progress and achievements of our Scholars and University Partners. For the full list of military veterans and spouses named to the fifth class of Tillman Military Scholars, as well as their schools and intended areas of study, click here.

Tillman Leadership Summit

This July, the Pat Tillman Foundation will host the Fourth Annual Pat Tillman Leadership Summit to unite current Tillman Military Scholars, alumni, and leaders throughout the military community. The Summit will convene at Roosevelt University in Chicago from July 11-14, 2013 where scholars will participate in a leadership forum, professional development workshops and community service projects.


If you are a member of the media who wishes to arrange an interview with Pat Tillman Foundation President and Co-Founder Marie Tillman or a new Tillman Military Scholar, please contact Michelle McCarthy at (201) 675-1063 or [email protected].