Cleveland State Community College hosted a special celebration on Wednesday to honor the college being recognized as a Veterans’ Designated Campus and as a Veterans’ Reconnect Grant Recipient.
“Our campus community could not be more proud to be recognized as a VETS Designated College and also to be selected to receive the Veterans Reconnect Grant,” stated Dr. Bill Seymour, CSCC President. “While Cleveland State has always been known as a vet-friendly college these latest recognitions not only illustrate our commitment in more powerful ways they will enable us to attract more veteran students and support their success to a much higher degree – to give these individuals who have sacrificed so much every opportunity to advance their education and their careers.
This is how we are your community college will give back to you.”
Cleveland State was one of only three community colleges in the state selected to receive the Veterans’ Reconnect Grant. This grant, valued at $80,000, will serve veterans and service members and help them earn postsecondary degrees as a part of Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative.
The 2017 grant program is specifically focused on improving the assessment of prior learning for student veterans returning to college, helping them more easily convert previous military experience into college credit and improving the transition between military service and postsecondary education.
Mike Krause, executive director, Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) and Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), said, “Higher education in America owes a lot to the American veteran. If you think about pre-World War II, colleges and universities in America were the purview of the elite, and what changed that was when millions of GI’s came home from saving the world and used the G.I. Bill to flood our college campuses. That changed their lives, but that changed America and it changed how we viewed colleges and universities.”
The presentation of colors was led by Bradley Central High School’s JROTC, led by Lieutenant Colonel Chris W. Ingle and Sergeant First Class Roger Wright. The National Anthem was performed by CSCC’s Vocal Rhapsody Ensemble under the direction of Karen Dale, and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Matthew Dodd, Student Senate Vice President, United States Marine Corps Reserves. Speakers included Ray Goad, CSCC Veterans Services Coordinator; CSCC Alum Antonio Simpson, VA Legal Administration Specialist, US Army; Gregg Crawford, Veteran Education Coordinator for East Tennessee; Representative John Forgety; Mike Krause, Executive Director, THEC and TSAC.
Mr. Krause said, “Military service is different in Tennessee. I don’t know what it is like in other states because I’m an eighth generation Tennessean, but It means something here. I think what you see from our state is a commitment to be the best state in American for veterans. It means that we become a place where when veterans leave whatever branch of service they are in that they know they are welcome in Tennessee. And that starts at the top… You never need to worry about the advocacy that Bradley county is getting in Nashville. They are fervent advocates for Bradley county, Cleveland and Cleveland State Community College. THEC can only administer the funds we are appropriated by the General Assembly, so we would not be here without your legislators.”
For more information on the Veterans Reconnect Grant, contact Tishauna Hoffman, Prior Learning Specialist, at 423-472-7141, ext. 421.