FSW Eases Transition from Veteran to Student

veterans club

Ian McCallister and members of the college's Troops and Students Connect (TASC) Force.

Many veterans returning to school for a degree or to obtain new skills choose Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) because of the tremendous support they receive in transitioning from active duty to civilian life.

Ian McCallister, a student-veteran and former president of the college's Troops and Students Connect (TASC) Force, said he formed deep bonds with fellow veterans while earning his two-year degree at FSW.

Formerly known as the A.C.E. Club, students changed the club's name to TASC and opened up membership to also include those who support veterans like family and friends. They have reached out to many FSW student-veterans.

"FSW helped me personally transition into being a student and spending time with others who were also transitioning made the process easier," says McCallister. "It's great to see what veterans are capable of doing and one of our missions in the TASC Force is to do community outreach, volunteering for Hearts and Homes for Veterans and the American Legion."

While on two tours in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2013, McCallister served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, traveling to distant villages across the country to set up and tear down medical clinics. He later became interested in international issues and sustainability as a result of the work he did in the Army. 

"I'm a green guy and I want to do more work in sustainable energy," he explains, specifically citing disaster relief and working with local populations to build more energy efficient homes.

McCallister finished his two-year degree at FSW last fall and transferred to Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) to study environmental engineering. His FSW classes in science, mathematics and pre-engineering helped prepare him for the rigorous bachelor's degree program at FGCU, and starting at the college gave him time to mentally prepare and transition.  

For those discharged military personnel embarking on a new degree, he says "FSW is the best place for any veteran coming back."

With a two-year degree a veteran can transfer to a university or enter one of FSW's workforce-based bachelor's programs.

Connections made between veterans at FSW aren't limited by age or service. Dale Riggs, president of the Korean War Veterans Association of Southwest Florida, met McCallister on the Thomas Edison (Lee) Campus last fall while making the group's latest contribution to a scholarship endowment they founded. Established only two years earlier, under the leadership of KWVA Treasurer Bob Kent, the endowment for veterans is now valued at over $20,000.

Riggs and McCallister reminisced about their respective experiences in the service and stumbled across other details each held in common. Joining the Army was a family tradition in McCallister's family and when he was a boy his father served at Camp Casey in Dongducheon, South Korea. Sixty years earlier, during the Korean War, Riggs was stationed at the very same base. They spoke fondly of Camp Casey, discussing what still stood today and what had been changed over the years, and they even discovered how each performed the same job in the Army.

"Ian saw my combat medical badge and brought up how he had served in the medical corps too," says Riggs, who was a combat medic and ambulance driver. "It really proves how connected veterans are no matter when or where they served. That's why our group gives back to younger veterans."

On average, FSW serves 400 student-veterans each year. The college was also one of the first in Southwest Florida to install "veterans only" parking spaces on campus.

Equip Tomorrow's Students to Excel

Click here for more information about veterans at FSW and learn about making an impactful gift.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Florida SouthWestern State College Foundation a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Florida SouthWestern State College Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 8099 College Parkway Fort Myers, FL 33919, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to FSW or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to FSW as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to FSW as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and FSW where you agree to make a gift to FSW and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.