May 4, 2020
SVSU class of 2020: Once a safeguard for Obama, veteran from Bay City eyes law school next
A Marine Corps veteran once charged with safeguarding the president of the United States is nearly finished with his latest mission: graduating from Saginaw Valley State University.
Driven by his own determined spirit, Chaz Fowler will receive his bachelor’s degree in political science this month. The Bay City resident next plans to join the U.S. Army and attend law school, although he has yet to choose the destination.
“I eventually want to parlay both into federal law enforcement,” Fowler said.
He was one of the first recipients of the $4,000 Robert and Ellen Thompson Military Scholarship at SVSU, established in 2018. The support arrived just in time for Fowler, who worried his graduation would be delayed while seeking tuition help two years ago.
Fowler enrolled at SVSU — recently listed for a sixth consecutive time on the annual “Best For Vets” college rankings published by Military Times — after serving in the Marines from 2011-15.
Much of that time was spent as a presidential sentry at Camp David. The Maryland retreat is the one site in the world where the Secret Service isn’t charged with keeping the president safe. Instead, that responsibility falls upon the military.
In providing security there, Fowler said the Marines often were in close proximity with the president at the time, Barack Obama.
“He used to play basketball with us,” Fowler said.
Serving as a Marine and guarding the president was a challenge that involved immense commitment, Fowler said.
He engaged a different type of challenge when he began pursuing a college education. But some of the skills he utilized as a Marine remained relevant as a student.
“Time management, commitment and determination are all necessary components for success here,” Fowler said.
Still, he acknowledged the support others provided him along the way.
“I could not be more grateful to the Thompson family and everyone who has helped me move closer to earning my degree at SVSU,” Fowler said.