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ONU alumna confirmed as chair of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals

A career dedicated to service to her country has resulted in a prestigious appointment for an Ohio Northern University graduate.

Ohio Northern alumna Cheryl “Cheri” L. Mason has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as chair of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) within the Department of Veterans Affairs. The appointment is a six-year term. She is the first woman and the first military spouse to serve as the chair of the BVA.

Mason, a 1986 graduate, was a political science major during her undergraduate career at ONU. She then earned her juris doctor from Creighton University. At Northern, she served an LBJ intern for U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen of Ohio.

Since graduating, Mason has maintained close ties to Ohio Northern. She served on the Getty College of Arts & Sciences Advisory Board and received a 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award.

“It is such a high honor to see one of our graduates achieve what Cheri has achieved,” said Robert Alexander, professor of political science and chair of ONU’s Department of History, Political Science, and Geography. “To be nominated by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate may seem like a distant possibility coming all the way from Ada, Ohio. Yet, Cheri has shown students that it is possible. She is proud of her ONU education, and I know that veterans will be well-served due to Cheri’s leadership.”

As an article in the Military Spouse JD Network newsletter points out, Mason has distinguished herself through her selfless service to others and her leadership skills. Further, as the story notes, Mason has deep roots in military service as the spouse of an Air Force veteran and the daughter of a World War II veteran. Her husband, Brett, is a fellow ONU graduate.

An attorney, Mason is currently principal deputy vice chair of the BVA. She began her career with the BVA in 1990. After working for the organization for four years, Mason put service before her professional pursuits and moved overseas when her husband received orders to report to Germany.

As the article explains, Mason resumed work at the BVA once she returned to the United States, and she benefited from her own experience as a military spouse. She held progressive roles in the organization as counsel, judge, chief judge and principal deputy vice chair. She Is known for her collaborative style and her success in modernizing and streamlining the BVA’s appeals process.

Mason’s legal career began in private practice in Omaha, Neb. Looking to use her professional skills to help others, Mason later served as an attorney ensuring implementation of the American with Disabilities Act.