Note: This story appears in the Summer 2019 issue of Affinity magazine. Visit our Affinity Magazine page to view all past issues.

On Feb. 11, following an exceptional 26-year career in the U.S. Army, Robert Boone began his job as Columbia College’s associate vice president overseeing operations of the college’s locations on military installations. Read more about his hiring here.

Robert Boone, assistant vice president, Columbia College Global-MilitaryWhat, essentially, is your role with the college?

Much like the directors at each location’s base, my function is to ensure that everyone has the resources necessary to service our No. 1 priority, our students. If a student has a problem and it’s elevated to my level, that becomes my priority. If a director sends me something that I need to work on at a location, that becomes my priority.

You obviously spent a lot of time in the military, so what does that experience bring to your new position?

I know what it’s like to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning with a family: Go in and do physical fitness from 6:30 to 8:00, come back home, shower, eat breakfast, kiss your wife goodbye and get the kids off to school. Then it’s off to work all day, sometimes until 6 or 7 o’clock at night, come home, eat dinner with the family, have a little bit of family time, tuck the kids in at 9 o’clock, have about 30 minutes of time with your wife and then study.

I vividly remember being at Army Ranger School 10 years ago in Fort Benning, Georgia, as the Brigade Operations Officer. We had just moved there and were in temporary apartments waiting for a house to be ready on Fort Benning. My wife, Carrie, was ready to give birth any minute, and I’m studying for my comprehensive final exams. So I’m starting a new job, I’m living in an apartment with three kids and another on the way with a pregnant wife, and I’m juggling a new job and studying for finals. It was pretty stressful.

I passed with distinction, so I’m very proud of that, but I empathize with what our student servicemembers go through. That goes for the civilian side as well, because there are plenty of students on the civilian side going through the exact same situation as I did at the time, but the bottom line is, I get it. I understand.

How can our military alumni help Columbia College?

Columbia College has an ROTC partnership with the University of Missouri. We have three students who graduated in April and were commissioned in May. I want to get those numbers up. I would love for alumni to come back and be mentors to our ROTC students. We’re a military-friendly school. It would be nice to have future officers — future leaders in the Air Force, Army and Navy — going through the ranks here on campus. It’s important to me.

Obviously, I would love for us to get more scholarship money, even $100 here and there. Every penny counts.

I’d love to have a sort of roll call of our alumni. I’d like to know your ranks, where you are today, how you have been successful. Just let us know you’re out there and share your experience about how Columbia College helped to better your career.

That’s my biggest question about your Columbia College experience; what has it done for you in the military and what is it going to do for you down the road?

Please share your thoughts with Rob and the Office of Alumni Relations, particularly if you’re participating in his “roll call!”

 

Capt. Rob Boone, Fallujah, Iraq, 2003

Then-Capt. Rob Boone, in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2003.