Dr. Terrell L. Odom

Dr. Terrell L. Odom

U.S. Navy Veteran – Hospital Corpsman Director,
Office for Military-Affiliated Communities
The University of Chicago

Dr. Terrell Odom is a U.S. Navy veteran responsible for developing and coordinating efforts and specialized programs for the University’s military-affiliated communities, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, alumni, faculty, staff, and all their respective families. The Office for Military-Affiliated Communities (OMAC) serves as the University’s central hub of resources, programming, and support for those affiliated with military service. During his tenure at University of Chicago, he has grown the military-affiliated population, helped to bring Army Medicine to University of Chicago Medical Center, created several new programs and initiatives to raise awareness for veterans and their families, established a flourishing Department of Defense Skillbridge Program, participated in research efforts around the country to support our heroes, and established a holistic support system for service members, veterans and their families transitioning into academic and professional careers.

Originally from the City of Chicago, Terrell returned after military service and attended the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) where he completed a commercial driver’s license (CDL) program and an associate in science. It was at CCC where he began his career of working to support service members, veterans, and military families with transition. His first job out of military service was an internship to support his fellow veterans with transition into higher education. Terrell then went on to lead military admissions at DeVry University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Technical Management, a graduate certificate in healthcare administration, and a Master of Public Administration from their Keller Graduate School of Management.

After DeVry University, Terrell went back to his roots at CCC and led the military and veteran initiatives at Kennedy-King College, one of the seven City Colleges of Chicago. He worked with academic, training, philanthropic, service providers, and labor union partners to establish the Utility Military Assistance Program (UMAP) – a training to placement program that has helped over 800 veterans, reservists, and guardsmen find good, sustaining careers in the utility (natural gas) sector. This program was the catalyst for similar programs now operating in the states of California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida, and paved the way for success of veterans now participating in DoD SkillBridge programs around the country.

Terrell has continuously pursued his passion for higher learning, earning a Master of Business Administration from American Military University, a Master of Public Administration from Keller Graduate School, a Master of Online Teaching and Certification for Online Learning Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield, a Master of Instructional Design and Technology from Western Illinois University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Chicago State University. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health to explore solutions and recognize gun violence as a health concern in poverty-stricken communities. The Chicago Caregiver Course is one of many projects that his research and ideas has brought to the national stage.

Over the past 19 years, Terrell has served in roles of administration (public and private), student services and faculty roles, at trade and technical schools and, two and four-year universities, and at public and private institutions. During his career, Terrell has constructed policies that incorporated military experience into institutional credit and stackable credentials, created college-level courses specific to transitioning service members, fostered environments that were engaging and conducive for the student veteran, and published research on awareness, access, and supporting military-affiliated students.

He currently serves as Chairman for the City of Chicago’s Advisory Council for Veterans Affairs, a Commissioner for the City of Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations, a board member for the Prizker Military Museum and Library, an ambassador for the American Legion’s Military Credential Advancement Initiative, a member of the USS Illinois 786 Club and, as CEO & Founder of Veterans Serving Our Communities (VSOC) – a 501c organization that provides mentoring programs for middle and high-school students at risk by building engagement around community.