Delaware Tech unveils Veterans Resource Center

 

From left, Mike Maier, Navient; Brig. Gen. Ernest G. Talbert, Delaware Tech Board of Trustees; Jennifer Rivera, Navient and current Delaware Tech student; Dr. June Turansky, Delaware Tech vice president and campus director; Dr. Mark Brainard, Delaware Tech president; Ryan Rock, Army veteran and current Delaware Tech student; David Strawbridge, Delaware Tech director of veterans services; and Jack Remondi, Navient president and CEO, at new Veterans Resorce Center at Delaware Tech’s Terry Campus on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery )

DOVER — At first glance it might appear to be just a small room on Delaware Technical Community College’s Charles L. Terry Campus in north Dover.

However, it is a space that promises to bring some big-time support to the student veterans who are enrolled at the college.

Delaware Tech President Mark T. Brainard helped cut the ribbon and officially open the Terry Campus’ new Veterans Resource Center on the second floor of the Terry Building on Thursday morning.

The resource center was funded by a $22,000 donation from the Navient Foundation, the nation’s largest student loan servicer.

President Brainard said the Veterans Resource Center makes perfect sense considering the college’s enrollment figures.

“Supporting veterans and active duty military members is a top priority at Delaware Tech,” Mr. Brainard said. “Last academic year, more than 550 military service members, veterans and their family members enrolled in one of our programs college-wide.

Delaware Tech President Mark Brainard speaks about new Veterans Resource Center at Terry Campus on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

“While we can’t begin to repay the debt that we owe these men and women for their service, we can take steps to remove the obstacles they face and provide additional support for them when they pursue higher education and that’s our mission here at Delaware Tech.”

The Veterans Resource Center at DelTech will host guest speakers and student veteran programs such as financial education, career workshops and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder seminars.

It will also provide a meeting space for veteran students to study, relax and engage with fellow veterans and for the Veterans Inspiring Progress student organization that offers support and networking for the campus veteran community.

Ryan Rock, a 2012 graduate of Smyrna High School, spent several years in the U.S. Army before he decided to enroll at Delaware Tech last fall to study criminal justice as he pursues a career in law enforcement.

Mr. Rock had served as member of the 25th Infantry Division, Second Stryker Brigade, in Hawaii.

He said that Delaware Tech is sincerely concerned about the adaptation of veterans back into students.

“When I returned to school I was concerned about the viability of jumping back into academic study since it had been so long since I had been in a traditional school environment,” Mr. Rock said. “Fortunately, in attending Delaware Tech, I found a school that supports not only traditional students, but veterans and their specific needs.

“This center is important because it gives us a space where we can instantly have access to others who know what it’s like to walk in our boots and have a quiet space to go to when things get hectic on campus.”

Navient, which is headquartered in Delaware, supports U.S. military members and veterans through ongoing hiring efforts, an employee-led Veterans Resource Group and customer service.

It was Navient’s donation that helped make the Veterans Resource Center a reality.

“We are committed to see that our men and women in uniform receive all the support they deserve,” said Jack Remondi, president and CEO of Navient. “We are grateful to Delaware Tech for inviting the Navient Foundation to help make this dedicated space for student veterans a reality.

“It is our hope that it will allow a generation of post-9/11 veterans to forge new connections that will carry forward throughout their lives.”

The Terry Campus center means that Delaware Tech now has Veterans Resource Centers at its campuses in all three counties to assist student veterans.

“It provides a great space,” said Mr. Brainard, who noted that Delaware Tech has been recognized as a Military Friendly School three years in a row. “It’s a learning space, a relaxation space, it’s a networking space and it’s all dedicated to veterans.

“It’s a space that can be used if one of our veterans just wants to go after class and relax and catch up and prepare for the next class.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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