Veteran exceeds limits to becoming an Eastern Michigan University graduate

Angelo DePollo next to a golden eagle statue and a Marine Corps flag.

YPSILANTI — Approaching life with an all-or-nothing attitude is the motto for soon-to-be EMU graduate Angelo DePollo. A veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq and Kuwait, he is graduating with honors with a degree in International Affairs. He plans to obtain his master’s and work for the U.S. State Department or a government agency, where he can help shape global policy through peaceful and diplomatic means.   

DePollo didn’t consider himself a college-bound student and didn’t place an emphasis on his academics because he aspired to enlist in the U.S. Marines. Upon completing his term of enlistment,  he began applying to schools, but the acceptance letters weren’t flowing in due to his GPA.   

“Just as I thought it was time to pack it in and put the uniform back on, Eastern Michigan University, an institution that very well knows the impact of military service on an individual, was willing to give me a shot at being the ‘college-bound kid,’ said DePollo. “I wouldn’t say it was fatal attraction between me and Eastern, but more of the stars aligning and me ending up exactly where I was supposed to be.”

DePollo said, majoring in international affairs was always his plan from the moment he decided to attend college. He credits his strong interest in politics, which attracted him to wanting to serve his country and now towards international affairs. 

“In a way, it's just the opposite side of the spectrum, with military service and diplomacy on the other,” said DePollo. “My interests stayed the same; it was just the capacity to apply those interests that changed, making my decision to study International affairs an easy one.”   

DePollo is grateful for his military service because it has set him up for long-term success. “The most important thing my time in the Middle East left me with was an ‘all or nothing’ attitude,” he said. You had to constantly be all in, no matter the task or mission at hand, and that attitude never really went away for me. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to be 110% committed to accomplishing that goal.”

Giving his all helped Depollo achieve a 3.9 GPA and serve as a leader for the Eastern Michigan Model United Nations Club, a group that fosters conversations around peaceful and diplomatic solutions to global issues.

“As president, I was able to transfer the leadership and administrative skills I had learned in the military to a civilian capacity,” said DePollo. Transitioning to diplomacy and rising through the ranks of the organization that practices it has been a cornerstone of my experience at EMU.”

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 13,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

April 17, 2024

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher