Francisco “Frank” Morales has been named the new director of St. Bonaventure University’s Office of Veterans Services.
Morales, who begins his new role Monday, replaces Michael Leonard, who’s leaving to start a new academic program at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio.
Morales has been chief of custodial services at St. Bonaventure since April, and will remain in a support role in that division until a full-time replacement is found.
“It’s my goal to put my experience and expertise to work to ensure the continuing success of St. Bonaventure’s Office of Veterans Services,” Morales said.
Morales worked previously at St. Bonaventure (2007-2010) as a senior military science instructor in the Army ROTC program. He was a guidance counselor in the Bolivar-Richburg Central School district from 2013 until April 2017, and was a mental health counselor for Catholic Charities from 2012 to 2013.
Morales will now report to Bernie Valento, vice president for enrollment, but he will still be located in the Office of Veterans Services, located on the second floor of Reilly Center. The position previously reported to the Office of Student Affairs.
“Michael did a great job in getting our Military Aligned Student initiative off the ground, and I can’t think of anyone better to continue that momentum than Frank,” Valento said. “He has such a passion and commitment to help veterans, which will be a tremendous asset in recruiting veterans and their dependents.”
A retired master sergeant, Morales earned a Silver Star and Bronze Star medal for gallantry in action in Afghanistan. He’s also served in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Rwanda, with more than 20 years of military experience encompassing leadership positions in the United States, Italy, and other overseas locations.
Morales has a bachelor’s degree in social science from Thomas Edison State College, and a master’s in community mental health counseling from St. Bonaventure.
He has significant experience in counseling and mentoring veterans, active duty soldiers and students on a wide variety of issues, encompassing post-traumatic stress disorder, finances, health care, legal and family matters.
Morales founded the Student Veterans Association at St. Bonaventure, and mentored JCC officials in the establishment of their veterans support program.
Morales and his wife of 18 years, Crystal, have three children: Christian, 17, a freshman at SBU; Julian, 15; and Isabella, 9.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #5 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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