Author Archives: Scott Kirkpatrick

Servant Leadership: From Coast Guard to Education

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Scott Kirkpatrick General Assembly President Veteran

While on active duty in 1997, GA President and COO Scott Kirkpatrick served as a military social aide to President Bill Clinton in the White House.

To honor our veterans, we’ve compiled a series of interviews with General Assembly staff, students, and alumni that celebrates their time in the service, explores how they found a new career in tech, and reflects on the life and leadership lessons they learned along the way.

Our first story is by Scott Kirkpatrick, General Assembly’s president and COO. If you are a veteran interested in boosting your career through General Assembly’s programs, learn about our discounts here and GI Bill® eligibility here.

Veterans Day is always a time of reflection and pride for me, and I always love to speak with other veterans about their military experiences. For me, my military career started when I chose to attend college at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. My father served as a soldier in the Vietnam War, and he always taught me to do things bigger than myself. That value was the inspiration for me to attend the Coast Guard Academy instead of “normal” college.

The mission of the Coast Guard is to save lives, and I was drawn to the humanitarian aspect of the service. I had no idea what I was getting into when I stepped onto campus for a summerlong bootcamp. It was a surreal experience in which the cadre shaved off my long hair, required me to square every corner and sleep with my rifle, and allowed only three responses: “Yes, sir/ma’am,” “No sir/ma’am,” or “No excuse sir/ma’am.” It was an intense summer, but I quickly learned the value of teamwork, respect, and perseverance. I relied on my classmates to get through extremely challenging and intimidating experiences — and those classmates are still close friends today.

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Happy Memorial Day from General Assembly

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Memorial Day at General Assembly 2016

Every spring, Memorial Day gives Americans the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen who have given their lives for our country. What began as “Decoration Day” in the aftermath of the Civil War was renamed Memorial Day during World War II as an opportunity to honor all Americans who died in military service. It became an official national holiday in 1971.

As a veteran myself, I’m keenly aware of the importance of recognizing those who gave their lives for our country. Today, our armed forces numbers over 1.3 million service members across the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The sacrifices made by military personnel in our current active military operations are enormous — 52,345 lives lost. You can read some of their stories, and reflect on the sacrifices they’ve made for our country, on the Washington Post’s powerful and heartbreaking Faces of the Fallen site.

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