Kenneth Heckel appointed director of Office of Military & Veterans Affairs

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kenneth Heckel, director of regional development at the University of Notre Dame and previously director of academy advancement for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, has been named director of Notre Dame’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs (OMVA), effective April 10.

“Ken served with distinction in the U.S. Army and in multiple roles at West Point and Notre Dame, and we are fortunate that he will bring his experiences in those positions to this new role,” John T. McGreevy, the University’s Charles and Jill Fischer Provost, said. “His leadership credentials, student-centric perspective and understanding of Notre Dame will be of tremendous benefit to our students.”

A 1996 graduate of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in finance, Heckel returned to his alma mater in 2019 to lead development for the East Region and has been instrumental in fundraising efforts to support the University’s strategic priorities.

As director of academy advancement at West Point, Heckel served as the strategic adviser to the academy’s superintendent on all matters related to advancement, development and alumni relations. In addition, he was a member of the Admissions Committee and served on the Accreditation Committee through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Heckel also worked closely with cadets at West Point — both as an assistant professor of economics and as the officer accessions program manager responsible for talent management and career development. His innovative approach to career development has been replicated at more than 250 university ROTC programs nationwide.

Heckel graduated with distinction from Notre Dame’s Army ROTC program. As a member of the U.S. Army’s finance corps, he served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Italy and Bosnia-Herzegovina. His domestic service included two command assignments at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, the Combat Action Badge and the Senior Parachutist Badge.

Established in 2017, OMVA is responsible for making the Notre Dame experience robust, inclusive and vibrant for military-connected students; achieving excellence in undergraduate, graduate and professional education for military-connected students; and creating an exemplary model of engagement in the military and veteran space.

Notre Dame’s commitment to supporting the military, veterans and their families spans the University’s 181-year history, from past Notre Dame presidents serving in the chaplain corps to the students enrolled today in the ROTC programs. Apart from the military academies, Notre Dame is among the national leaders in graduating military officers.

“Even in his previous role in development, Ken has been a resource for OMVA and Notre Dame students associated with our military,” said Rev. Robert A. Dowd, C.S.C., vice president and associate provost for interdisciplinary initiatives. “He has been instrumental in securing current and future funding for the office, and has worked to develop relationships with students, faculty, alumni and external partners at the Department of Defense, the military academies and other universities.”

“I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the Office of Military & Veterans Affairs, as the University reinforces its enduring commitment to all those who selflessly have served, are serving and will serve our nation,” Heckel said. “Inspired by the credo of God, Country, Notre Dame, our military-connected students, staff and faculty embody an ethos of servant leadership as an integral part of our inclusive campus community. Through their example, I aspire to elevate and amplify their Notre Dame experiences as they prepare to become forces for good in the world.” 

Heckel holds a master’s degree from the University of Virginia and is currently pursuing his doctorate in higher education administration at Northeastern University.

Originally published by Dennis Brown at on March 21, 2023.