For the fifth consecutive year, Mount Wachusett Community College has been recognized as a top military friendly school for creating a culture of positive energy and academic support for veterans, active military members and their dependents.
The 2014 Military Friendly Schools list, released by Victory Media, names the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students and ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation. Now in its fifth year, the list serves as the primary resource for service members and military families seeking education and captures best practices among schools in supporting military students.
“We are proud and honored to be recognized for our ongoing commitment to the men and women who courageously serve our country, and to their families who also make a tremendous sacrifice,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “It is our privilege and duty to support these heroes within our communities as they pursue academic and career goals. Moreover, their presence and active participation on our campus enriches the entire college community.”
A designated Yellow Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs with a long history of supporting veterans, MWCC was cited for the wrap-around support provided through its Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success and vibrant Veterans Group student organization, which is Student Veterans of America chapter.
In 2010, MWCC was one of 15 colleges in the country selected to establish a model center through a Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Though the three-year, $400,000 grant concludes this month, MWCC is fully incorporating the center’s services and programs into its array of comprehensive student support services. The veterans’ success center is now serving more than 300 students each year. Support services address the unique academic, financial, social and physical needs to veterans, military personnel and military families transitioning to college life.
“I got here just as the center was starting up and got to see how it progressed over the years,” said Marine Corps veteran and business administration major Nick Guthmiller, who served in Iraq. “This veterans center has really helped me out. The first semester I was here I really struggled with the transition of going from one world to a completely different world. Being around other veterans who are going through the same thing really helped ease the transition.”
Ruth Robertson, who serves in the Army Reserves, enrolled at MWCC this fall and is pursuing a career in health care. The support she found at the center and among her peers has already made a tremendous difference in her transition to college, she said. “I feel comfortable here.”
In August, MWCC was recognized as one of 250 colleges and universities taking part in President Obama’s new “8 Keys to Success” initiative to help boost academic opportunities and improvement employment outcomes for veterans. The eight keys build on the administration’s work to provide veterans and military families with a high-quality, affordable education and highlight specific ways that colleges and universities can support veterans as they pursue their education and employment goals.