NEW RESOURCE CENTER PROVIDES SUPPORT FOR STUDENT VETERANS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 21, 2015
JAMESTOWN, N.C. — As the nation pauses this Memorial Day to remember and honor those who have passed while serving their country, Guilford Technical Community College will honor its military and veteran students in a different way.
Next week, GTCC will open the doors to its new Veterans Resource Center, a designated space on the college’s Jamestown Campus devoted to serving the needs of military and veteran students.
A grand opening will be held 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 on the Jamestown Campus in Medlin Campus Center, room 120. GTCC President Dr. Randy Parker and members of the Jamestown Veterans Committee will share remarks, followed by a ceremonial ribbon-cutting.
The Veterans Resource Center will serve as a centralized location for military and veteran students to network with each other in a welcoming and comfortable environment. The 1,000 square-foot-space will feature a computer lab, lounge area, periodic visits from Veterans Affairs counselors, and other resources.
Flora Taylor, coordinator of GTCC’s Veterans and Military Assistance Program, says the Center was modeled after United Service Organization (USO) Centers offered in select airports. She wanted the GTCC Veterans Resource Center to mirror the same relaxing and friendly atmosphere USO Centers are well-known for, and aid in the transition of student veterans returning to the classroom.
“When you get out of the service, you try to find where you fit in. It can be very isolating for military veterans enrolling in college,” Taylor said. “The Veterans Resource Center will provide our military and veteran students with an inviting place to share stories and similar experiences and ease what can sometimes be a tough transition.”
And that need is only growing greater as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cease and more veterans take advantage of the GI Bill® and enroll in college. With a student veteran population of 627 students (fall 2014 and spring 2015 combined) and six consecutive years of being named a Military Friendly® school, Taylor says the college has always been dedicated to serving the unique needs of military and veteran students, and opening this Veterans Resource Center will only further aid in helping these students adjust to civilian life and feel connected to the college.
“They need a place to go where they can meet other veterans who can relate to what they’re going through,” Taylor said.
Significant support for the Center was provided by The Jamestown Veterans Committee, a nonprofit group that formed originally to raise funds for the veterans’ memorial in Wrenn Miller Park in Jamestown, N.C. After the success of that effort, the committee started looking for other opportunities to support local veterans and saw the GTCC Veterans Resource Center as the perfect fit, said Bruce Dillon, chair of the Jamestown Veterans Committee. Its $10,000 donation funded furnishings for the space and will provide additional support for the Veterans Resource Center going forward.
“Our goal is to help veterans, especially those in our community. We also wanted to keep veteran awareness alive in town, so we’ve been looking for a way to help veterans in another way,” Dillon said. “With GTCC being right here in our backyard it seemed like the right fit. We could reach more veterans that way. GTCC has such a broad spectrum of classes that can help veterans and it has such a good program in place.”
The committee’s gift is in memory of Shelley Vivian Hughes, daughter of Jamestown Veterans Committee Vice Chair Dana Hughes. She passed away in 2013.
Other supporters of the Veterans Resource Center include The GTCC Foundation, Inc., KI and Campbell Construction.
Guilford Technical Community College is the third largest of 58 institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. GTCC serves more than 40,000 students annually from five campuses and a Small Business Center. Learn more at www.gtcc.edu.
— Carla Kucinski/GTCC