Student Affairs

Kimberly Poole honored among 2024 Veteran Champions of the Year in Higher Education


Kimberly Poole, Ph.D., has been named as one of the 2024 Veteran Champions of the Year in Higher Education by the Military Friendly® program. The award recognizes individuals who passionately advocate for veterans in higher education. This year’s recipients will be published in the October issue of G.I. Jobs, a global publication that connects service members, veterans and their families to civilian career, education and business opportunities.

Poole currently serves as assistant vice president and senior associate dean of students. Within her purview, she holds administrative oversight of several departments, including the Office of Military & Veteran Engagement (M&VE). Under the leadership of Emily DaBruzzi, M&VE serves more than 1,200 service members, veterans and military family members at Clemson.

“Dr. Poole plays a large role behind the scenes in every military-friendly initiative and enhancement at Clemson,” DaBruzzi says. “She leads our newly created Military-Connected Support and Service Committee, which was established with the goal of continuing to enhance the Clemson experience for our military-connected students.”

This past academic year, Clemson jumped from silver status to No. 7 national rankings among Tier 1 research institutions as both a Military Friendly® School and Military Spouse Friendly® School. Clemson also received a silver certificate grade from the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs for its Military Academic Program and was named to the “Best Colleges for Vets” list by Military Times magazine.

Kimberly Poole, Emily DaBruzzi and 2023 graduating student veterans
Poole (left) is pictured with Director of Military & Veteran Engagement Emily DaBruzzi (right) and student veterans during a December 2023 presentation of red, white and blue graduation regalia cords.

Last fall, members of the Student Veterans Association (SVA) helped coordinate a Memorial Stadium stair climb in remembrance of fallen heroes from the 9/11 tragedy. This winter, Clemson hosted United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough in February for a student roundtable as part of a listening tour in Upstate South Carolina. Within a few weeks of the visit, Clemson also hosted a Veterans Affairs (VA) Claims Clinic for veterans on campus and members of the local community. Clemson closed the year strong in March when Company C-4 of the Pershing Rifles added to its decorated history by winning the 2024 Varsity Rifles trophy, the program’s 12th national championship.

Poole has been a strong advocate for additional space and staffing for M&VE. Two full-time staff members were added in 2023-24, and the university is soon adding an executive director for military affairs. Additionally, M&VE opened new physical space on the third floor of Hendrix Student Center to enhance the experience for both military-connected students and staff.

“This is an incredibly humbling honor,” Poole says. “My goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of all students. To that end, it has been both a privilege and pleasure promoting our services for student veterans and military-connected students.”