Ray Toenniessen

Director of External Relations, Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University

Toenniessen is charged with cultivation and development of all new projects, programs and strategic initiatives for the institute, working in partnership the related IVMF departments. As a member of the senior leadership team, he leads the IVMF’s advancement strategy and serves as a liaison to the external advisory board.

In his previous role as director of veteran outreach at SU’s Whitman School, he was instrumental in developing and executing a portfolio of educational programs for veterans and military families—including Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Families (EBV-F), Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) and Operation Endure & Grow. He previously served as national managing director for the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities Consortium.

A former Army officer, he served at the platoon, company and battalion levels in leadership and staff positions, including platoon leader, operations officer, convoy commander, and detachment commander. In 2008, he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Under Toenniessen’s leadership, his unit successfully redeployed in 2009. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Syracuse University and an MBA from the Saunders College of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology

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