Student Stories

U.S. Army specialist in Kuwait welcomed to Class of 2025

Natnael Getahun admitted early through new UChicago program to support student veterans

Late Monday evening in the deserts of Kuwait, a U.S. Army Soldier nervously awaited what he thought was a college admissions interview.

A portrait of Natnael M. Getahun wearing an army uniform.
Spc. Natnael M. Getahun

Instead, surrounded by Army unit leaders at Camp Buehring, Specialist Natnael Getahun was met with a surprise Zoom call from University of Chicago officials, welcoming him as one of the first members of the Class of 2025.

“I’m grateful that I was accepted to the University of Chicago, and I’m excited to enter this new stage of my life,” said the 22-year-old Getahun, who plans to study philosophy and computational mathematics. “I look forward to this new challenge.”

Getahun watched College Admissions deans deliver the news while being accompanied by his peers and leaders of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team,1st Armored Division. Colonel Michael Wagner and Command Sergeant Major Christopher Kohunsky later presented Getahun with the Brigade Coin, a symbol of excellence.

“Being a part of Specialist Getahun’s acceptance to the University of Chicago was a unique and rewarding opportunity,” said Sergeant Major Jeremy Prickette, brigade operations sergeant major, 2nd BCT, 1st Armored Div. “As leaders in the military, it’s our job to recognize that people are the Army’s greatest strength. Events like this highlight the ways in which the military can foster professional and personal growth.”

Born in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, Getahun grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and attended high school in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. In February 2018, he joined the U.S. Army as an infantryman.

Getahun’s early acceptance comes through special programming for veterans in the University of Chicago’s Stand Together initiative. Beginning this autumn, the University has expanded resources for veterans, who are often underserved in higher education, to help with the college admissions process. They include a streamlined application process to UChicago—and once admitted, support to guide them through college and into successful careers.

“We are delighted to welcome Nate to the University of Chicago,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College and a former U.S. Army captain. “Not only is military service a noble pledge that is essential to our nation, but much of what I have learned about leading also has come out of my experiences in the U.S. Army. We are very proud of the men and women who serve, and committed to ensuring that the University of Chicago is an institution that supports their success.”

—This story also appears on the UChicago News website.