The Raymond A. Mason School of Business is proud to announce the selection of Jonathan “JD” Due as the first Executive Director of the new Center for Military Transition. The Center, which was established due to a generous $10 million donation made by an anonymous William & Mary alumna, officially opened at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year. Due will be responsible for setting the strategic vision of the Center as it provides transition support and student services to the active-duty and veteran student population at the Mason School.
“Active duty and veteran servicemembers are an integral part of the Mason School and the broader William & Mary community,” said Dean Larry Pulley. “We honor the sacrifices they have made in service to our nation by offering the opportunity to gain a world-class education and ease their transition as they look to pursue new opportunities outside of the military. I am confident that JD will use his leadership skills and own experience acclimating to the civilian world to help our military students launch and continue to succeed in their new careers as principled leaders in business. Under JD’s leadership, we will also help companies better understand, and be able to employ, the wonderful assets that our veterans represent.”
Originally from Houston, Texas, Due is a 1998 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point where he earned a degree in American history. He went on to serve nearly 20 years on active duty as an armor officer, leading soldiers during assignments at Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Benning, Georgia; and Vilseck, Germany in addition to deploying multiple times to Iraq.
While on active duty, Due earned a Master of Arts in American History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served a follow-on assignment as an instructor and assistant professor at West Point.
“A formidable time in my life was when I had the opportunity to teach at West Point. The Army essentially gave me a sabbatical to get a graduate degree and use that degree to help develop future leaders at the United States Military Academy. The entire experience gave me structure and additional context to the powerful opportunities of what higher education can provide,” he said. “Many military veterans bring unique leadership experiences with them, and when they have the opportunity to benefit from world-class educational opportunities, they have the opportunity to grow into highly effective teachers who possess the will, the initiative, the spirit to accept challenges and to create opportunities, which are attributes that translate well into the civilian world. Giving veterans that precise opportunity – to develop and empower them to think and lead like executives – is at the heart of what the Center for Military Transition will do.”
Following his retirement from the Army, he completed a fellowship with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce under the “Hiring Our Heroes” program where he gained critical civilian leadership experience working with the Amazon Web Services team.
“As I started that program, I shifted my thinking from “what do I want to do?” to “who do I want to be?”,” he said. “This was a subtle shift, but changing the context from task to identity helped me understand the broad things that an effective transition program can do not only in the short term to help find a job, but in the long term to find a job that allows an individual veteran to contribute back to a variety of different communities and truly succeed.”
Due comes to Williamsburg from Chicago where he most recently worked with the Pat Tillman Foundation for several years as the Director of Programs and Scholarships, helping to select veterans and military spouses for academic scholarships and supporting leadership programs that assist with transition into civilian life.
“I’ve learned a lot from my own experience and from observing others’ experiences. There are the tangible skills required for those who transition, like understanding how to translate your military experience for different audiences and how to market that on a resume. But there are also broader questions a transitioning servicemember must ask themselves when pursuing a civilian career like, “what inspires me,” “where can I begin a new chapter of service outside of uniform,” and “what are my interests and my passions,” Due explained. “Asking and answering questions such as these is an important step for anyone transitioning from the military to the civilian world. If you can get that higher-level, abstract task right, you can help someone not only succeed but to flourish.”