KU in Leavenworth Celebrates Military Appreciation Month with Its Largest Graduating Class

In only one year, the number of graduates from KU’s off-post Leavenworth programs more than tripled to 30 students, most of whom are active members of the military.

Sam Diehl at commencement

May is synonymous with graduation, and it’s also National Military Appreciation Month. In the spirit of both, the University of Kansas is celebrating its largest graduating class in the history of its programs in the city of Leavenworth.

In only one year, the number of graduates from KU’s off-post Leavenworth programs more than tripled to 30 students, most of whom are active members of the military. Fort Leavenworth is home to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC), in which mid-career officers spend a year furthering their education and training to develop their skills and rise in the ranks. During this year, these officers may complement their training with civilian studies. Two such officers are Sam Diehl and Peter Frischholz, who graduated from KU’s Master of Science in Business and Organizational Leadership program during the ceremony in Lawrence on May 13. Diehl shared his story with the crowd as a featured speaker during the School of Business ceremony on May 11.

Sam Diehl
Sam Diehl (pictured above during his address to his School of Business graduating class at Allen Fieldhouse on May 11) is an aeromedical evacuation officer and UH-60 Black Hawk aviator who graduated with a Master of Science in Business and Organizational Leadership.

“This program complements the CGSC curriculum well,” Diehl said. “The classes offer diverse perspectives that inform your approach to problems and recognizing universal themes of leadership in the civilian and military sectors.”

Diehl, an aeromedical evacuation officer and UH-60 Black Hawk aviator, received his undergraduate degree in health sciences from James Madison University. For the past 13 years, he planned and executed medical evacuation missions. He will stay in Leavenworth for another year to attend the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies and said he thinks the training he received from KU prepared him for this and the next stages of his career.

“I didn’t just want a piece of paper,” Diehl said. “I was attracted to the curriculum, it was a good balance of what was interesting and professionally relevant to me. The reputation of the school and business program was also important.”  

Diehl’s classmate, Peter Frischholz, a career military officer serving in the U.S. Army Special Forces, agrees.

“Over the last 10 years or so, I’ve been engaged in leadership in the Army,” Frischholz said. “When I was selected for CGSC at Fort Leavenworth, I came upon KU’s business and organizational leadership program. CGSC is investing in us to go back into leadership. This has been a great opportunity to learn the theories of business and leadership and how they apply.”

Peter Frischholz
Peter Frischholz, military officer and soon-to-be company commander serving in the U.S. Army Special Forces, graduated with his Master of Science in Business and Organizational Leadership.

For the past 10 years, KU has offered two programs inside Fort Leavenworth: the Master of Science in Business - Supply Chain Management and Logistics and a Master of Arts in Global and International Studies - Interagency Track. In 2016, KU expanded its offerings off-post to include a Master of Science in Homeland Security: Law and Policy; a Master of Science in Business and Organizational Leadership; and a Master of Engineering in Project Management.

“The growth of our student population is evidenced by the size of the class of 2018, which is also why we recently expanded our classroom space,” said Mike Denning, director of the Office of Graduate Military Programs at KU. “Our programs in Leavenworth offer unique, relevant, high-quality learning opportunities. We look forward to continuing our service to these military, veteran and civilian students.”

Diehl and Frischholz, whose next step is to serve as an Army Special Forces Company Commander, credit the mix of civilian and military perspectives for adding value to their experience.

“Our classmates have several different career paths and experiences,” Frischholz said. “The program brings these people together to challenge each other. A lot of the professors are ex-military, so they can communicate to us. This program will help me further my career. I feel much more confident.”

Learn more about KU in Leavenworth
With accelerated coursework and evening classes, students in Leavenworth can complete a KU master’s degree in as few as 10 months. The programs and class schedules are designed to meet the needs of professional and military careers. KU is an ideal partner for military personnel as they pursue their educational and career goals. In November, Military Times ranked KU among the best colleges in the country for veterans.

About The University of Kansas
The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. The university's mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world.

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