OUR Clemson; Student Affairs

Emily DaBruzzi named director of Military and Veteran Engagement


Emily DaBruzzi has been named director of Clemson University’s office of Military and Veteran Engagement. A 10-year veteran of the United States Navy, DaBruzzi’s background includes assisting military-affiliated students into higher education, having served as a program coordinator within the Military and Veterans Resource Center at the University of North Florida since 2018.

In her new role, DaBruzzi will help create, implement and manage programs for student veterans and military-affiliated students transitioning to campus life at Clemson. Her official start date is April 25.

“We are thrilled to welcome Emily to our team in the Division of Student Affairs,” said Assistant Vice President and Senior Associate Dean of Students Dr. Kimberly Poole. “Emily’s experience — not only as a veteran, but also as an administrator in higher ed — stood out throughout the search process. We believe she will be an outstanding advocate for our student veteran and military-connected communities.”

Emily DaBruzzi, new director of Military and Veteran Engagement at Clemson
DaBruzzi served for 10 years in the United States Navy and has supported student veterans and military-connected students in their higher education transition the past four years at the University of North Florida.

DaBruzzi was the lead school certifying official through the Department of Veterans Affairs for the University of North Florida. She managed the VA educational benefits program and created UNF’s Military Friendly Training program, a strategic planning initiative for faculty and staff to increase support of military students. While at UNF, DaBruzzi supervised multiple work-study students each academic term and cultivated relationships with a military-affiliated population comprised of more than 1,400 students. She was nominated for the UNF Presidential Award for Excellence in Fall 2020.

DaBruzzi served in the Navy from 2001-11 and achieved the rank of petty officer first class. She earned numerous military awards — including the Navy Commendation Medal — while supervising more than 200 sailors on a daily basis in at the Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Hawaii. She was recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense for attaining maximum Korean language proficiency while specializing in linguistic and translation services for the National Security Agency.

She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hawaii Pacific University in 2013. Her husband, Christopher Smith, and their oldest son, Trenton, both currently serve in the Navy. Chris will be joining their two younger sons, Brayden and Maxwell, in South Carolina following his retirement from active duty in 2023.