James Schmeling, J.D.

President and CEO, NDU Foundation

NDUF’s President and CEO James Schmeling, J.D., has over 25 years of unparalleled experience in building and leading organizations focused on higher education, military veteran nonprofits, and public private partnerships.

Prior to joining the NDUF, James Schmeling, J.D., was Executive Vice President for Student Veterans of America for nearly four years where he was responsible for development and strategic partnerships, including collaborations with business and industry partners, employer coalitions, veterans service organizations, colleges and universities, foundations, and others.

During his tenure at SVA, Schmeling developed the highly successful Business and Industry Roundtable program as a way to engage SVA Chapters with private sector companies focused on student veterans as part of their corporate citizenship and talent acquisition strategies. Founding members of the Business and Industry Roundtable included Accenture, Aetna, Amazon, BASF, Booz Allen Hamilton, Comcast/NBC Universal, Deloitte, Edelman PR, Edward Jones, First Data, Gartner, General Dynamics, JPMorgan Chase & Co., LinkedIn, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Nestle, Prudential/PGIM, PwC, Raytheon, and USAA.

Schmeling’s expertise includes building three research-focused institutes within premier public and private universities (the University of Iowa and Syracuse University), administering over $90 million in grant funding, writing and receiving $45 million in proposal awards, and being the principal investigator or co-principal investigator for over $16 million in funded projects. Schmeling established and co-founded:

  • The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University and was appointed its first managing director. 
  • The Coalition for Veteran Owned Business (CVOB) whose founding members included American Express, BP America, Fleishman Hillard, KKR, La Quinta, Lockheed Martin Corporation, SunTrust Banks, USAA, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Verizon Communications Inc., Walmart and Sam’s Club, and the Walt Disney Company.
  • The Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University and was its COO and managing director.

Schmeling’s comprehensive focus on veteran-inclusive employment also includes collaborations with GE and also J.P. Morgan Chase which has enabled over 200 major business and industry partners to hire nearly 300,000 veterans. He also serves as:

  • Member of the Veterans Employment Advisory Committee for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative
  • Member of the Board of Directors of Corporate America Supports You
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network
  • Schmeling also has been a guest lecturer at the Disney Institute Heroes Work Here Program and for Small Business Administration (SBA) veteran and spouse entrepreneurship education programs

As a nationally known expert academic administrator and intrapreneur, Schmeling is regularly quoted in the news media and is a frequent guest speaker at conferences on veteran education, employment, and entrepreneurship, and to elected and appointed officials at state and national levels.  He is also published on higher education, disability inclusion, military, and veteran policy in peer-reviewed law and social science journals.

Schmeling is a U.S. Air Force veteran, served for 6 years, and was honorably discharged as a sergeant. Post-service he earned a B.A. in political science with a minor in international studies (Latin America) from Iowa State University and a Juris Doctorate (JD) with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law.