NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University announced the grand opening of its Student Veterans Center at a Veterans Day program on Monday that featured a generational soldier with four Bronze Star Medals.
The program was on TSU’s Avon Williams Campus, which is where the new center will be housed. A ribbon cutting for the new center was held following an observance ceremony for all service men and women.
TSU President Glenda Glover was among the program’s speakers and lauded all those individuals who sacrifice their lives for this nation.
“Thank you for answering the call to duty,” said Dr. Glover. “TSU is honored to have this program to salute our heroes.”
Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, commended TSU for its new Student Veterans Center, saying “combining military service with higher education is the ultimate combination.”
“The TSU Student Veterans Center … is going to become an incredible hub for student veterans at our state’s land-grant university, which is leading the way in engineering and agriculture,” said Krause, a veteran Bronze Star recipient. “What better way to create leaders in those fields than to bring those who have already served, and say hey, we’re going to make you a TSU Tiger as well.”
The program’s keynote speaker, Lt. Col. Bernard House, agreed.
“With thousands of soldiers transitioning out of the military annually, it is great to see the dedication by the university to ensure a smooth transition for our veterans,” said House of TSU, which is a certified Vets Campus. “As a nation and as a military, we must remain committed to taking care of our veterans.“
The program also honored Vietnam Veterans. House’s father was a noncommissioned officer in the 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment during the Vietnam War. Coincidentally, House commanded the 3rd Battalion of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment during his deployment to Iraq to support Operation Inherent Resolve.
“I actually got a chance to command the same regiment that my father served in in Vietnam,” said House, who has been in the Army 22 years and received four Bronze Star Medals, six Meritorious Service Medals and the Combat Action Badge, among other awards.
“So this is an extreme honor for me to be able to speak. Not only to recognize the veterans, but to focus on Vietnam Veterans. And because my father served in Vietnam, it’s also a way for me to honor him.”
Dr. Evelyn Nettles, associate vice president for Academic Affairs at TSU, spearheaded formation of the center. She said before the program that the center’s mission is to “provide support for military and veteran students as they transition from their military duty to enrollment and matriculation at the university.”
“This ensures that these students have a voice in their university experience and are inspired to achieve success in their classes and in the broader community,” she added.
Gwen Falin is the veteran prior learning assessment coordinator at TSU. A veteran herself , she said “it’s important for student veterans to have the opportunity to connect with other student veterans.”
“Veterans in general are a small population,” said Falin, who helped start the center. “And then when you attend school, it’s not uncommon for student veterans to be older than their classmates. If they are seeking out other veteran students, they have a place to do so.”
TSU student veteran Joseph Hart retired from the Army after 23 years and is currently a senior majoring in liberal arts. He said fellow vets at the university will benefit from the center.
“I love the fact that we have the Veterans Center,” said Hart, who was honored with a “Quilt of Valor” during the program for his three tours of duty in Middle Eastern conflicts. “It’s really great to know that we’re being recognized as soldiers.”
Last year, TSU implemented a program that allows veterans to count military training for credit hours when they enroll at the university. The program is part of the state of Tennessee’s Veteran Reconnect initiative.
For more information about veteran services at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/vets/.
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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.