Published: Nov 23, 2012 12:00 AM
Modified: Nov 20, 2012 06:01 PM
N.C. Central University’s 400 former and active-duty military now have a campus center to call their own.
At this month’s Veterans Day observance Nov. 12, nearly 50 NCCU military veterans — students, faculty and staff — were honored with speeches and a flag ceremony in front of the statue of university founder James E. Shepard at the heart of the campus. The activities continued that afternoon with the grand opening of the new Veterans Center in the Miller–Morgan Building.
“What impresses me the most about our military men and women is that even after they wear the uniform, they come back and continue to make a commitment to their families and communities,” Lt. said Col. James Hunt, battalion commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Raleigh.
Not since the Vietnam War, Hunt noted, have there been as many veterans between the ages of 22 and 30. “And this number is only going to increase.”
NCCU developed its Veterans Center partly in response to this growth. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund contributed $18,600 to support the center, which includes a student lounge, a computer center and office space for NCCU veterans coordinator Tomeka Davis.
Davis, an Army veteran, said the new center will serve as a refuge and resource for student veterans.
“There is a bond that is formed when you join the military, a sense of camaraderie,” she said. “That is what the Veterans Center will provide, a space to connect to others who understand our story. That’s what veterans need to be successful and graduate on time.”
In September, NCCU was recognized for the third year in a row as a “military-friendly” institution by Victory Media, a company that serves military personnel transitioning into civilian life. The company’s list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools “doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.”
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