A U.S. Army veteran with expertise in operational and strategic management has been appointed to lead the university’s Veterans Affairs office and emergency management activities.

Northern Arizona University President John Haeger announced this week that retired Lt. Col. Andrew Griffin, who has helped lead the growth of NAU’s Army ROTC enrollment since 2000, has assumed the new role to help NAU better serve its military veterans as well as centralize the university’s comprehensive emergency and disaster preparedness.

Haeger said the university will immediately benefit from Griffin’s leadership and expertise both in the military and as a senior level officer at NAU.

“Lt. Col. Griffin is helping us address the pressing and immediate need for attention in two areas of critical importance to the university,” Haeger said. “We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber, experience and character to lead these efforts.”

Reporting to David Bousquet, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Griffin said he considers himself like “a symphony conductor working to coordinate each of these two areas.”

In his new role directing Veterans Affairs, Griffin is responsible for managing all efforts related to the outreach, retention and graduation of student veterans. This includes establishing a student veterans’ center on the Flagstaff campus and working with Residence Life to create an on-campus living community for NAU’s student veterans, among other charges.

“It’s not good enough to just recruit the military service members and their families as they seek a university education to help transition into the civilian world,” Griffin said. “We will foster an environment that retains this uniquely diverse student population and supports their educational progress towards graduation.”

As the director of emergency management, Griffin serves as the lead campus representative entrusted with continually improving the university’s emergency management program. In this role, he will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of all potential natural, technological and human threats and hazards on campus, lead the emergency management team in updating the campus Emergency Operations Plan, and conduct a series of tests and exercises to ensure the plan is within compliance of the National Incident Management System.

“I hope to build upon the great work already accomplished by many of our staff to provide a comprehensive emergency management program,” he said. “We will be focusing on the integration of safety and incident mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery into existing campus organizations and activities, as well as local, regional and federal organizations and agencies.”

Griffin’s first day as director for Emergency Management and Veterans Affairs was Monday, March 29.