Veteran Student Ethan Blake ’19 Cites Professor’s Influence as Key to Success MacKenzie Riley Young | December 17, 2019
Ethan and Mark

Class of 2019 student Ethan Blake enrolled at Thomas College after serving as a full-time active duty member of the Marine Corps. Although his first semester in college left him feeling out of place, he found reassurance and wisdom in fellow veteran and Criminal Justice professor Mark Marsolais.

“Professor Marsolais knew how to connect with me on a personal level,” reflects Ethan, who will graduate this month with a degree in Criminal Justice. “He encouraged me to stay committed to my education and never give up. He knew what I was going through and saw potential in me.”

At the College’s Veterans’ Day ceremony in November, Ethan shared with classmates, faculty, and staff that he looked to Professor Marsolais often over his last four years for help with classes, assignments, and career and life decisions. Ethan noted that his time in the military was crucial to his personal development – and that at Thomas College, Professor Marsolais had a similar, profound influence on him. “It’s the kind of relationship we’ve established,” he says. “And I’m so grateful for it.”

Professor Marsolais said he was equally worried about how Ethan would adjust to his time in college after active duty, but he said Ethan stepped up to the challenge.

“He approached academic life as a good soldier – I guess I should say, Marine – should,” said Professor Marsolais. “He saw academic life as his new mission. He took what Thomas offered and he owned it. Not only did he accomplish his mission, but he also improved life at Thomas. He contributed to the development of new programs and courses, he helped recruit new students, and with his can-do attitude and humor, made the Thomas community better.”

Thomas College students cite their relationships with faculty and staff as key to their experiences and success. You can assist more students like Ethan; your donation today to the Thomas Fund helps to support faculty and staff development and helps the College keep student-to-faculty ratios low so that instructors can get to know – and positively impact – each student.

Make your impact today at – and thank you.