GPC to Unveil Military Outreach Center to Aid Service Members and Veterans

04/06/2011
Contact: Beverly James
Phone: 678-891-2686
Fax: 678-891-2966
Author: Beverly James

For Immediate Release

Georgia Perimeter College has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the Board of Regents to create a Military Outreach Center, which will provide centralized services to armed services veterans, current military service members, their families and dependents. GPC is the first two year institution chosen to participate in the College Access Challenge Grant Program, which includes seven other schools.

After serving two tours of duty in Iraq, Joseph Lewit was sure of one thing: He wanted to kick start his education at Georgia Perimeter College. The former United States Army military police officer visited so many offices on campus to get enrolled that his head spun.

“It would have been so much easier if access to all the services were under one roof,” says Lewit, a history major at GPC Clarkston Campus. His wish is finally coming true; the center will act as a liaison to all services available to students at GPC.

“GPC has taken one giant step forward to assist our enlisted men and women to gain an education from our fine institution. We look forward to offering our veterans and their dependents an opportunity to succeed at Georgia Perimeter by offering them outstanding centralized services,” said GPC President Dr. Anthony S. Tricoli.

“The basic idea is to provide support services for our men and women who continue to serve their country, and those who have served and who will be returning in record numbers to pursue higher education,” said Rufus Larkin, Ph.D., principal investigator for the GPC Military Outreach Center. “Similarly, we want to lead college-wide efforts to implement or improve outreach and services to members of the military, including active duty, reserve, National Guard, and veterans and dependent family members.”

The Center will offer special orientations that are tailored to the needs of veterans, service projects, a student veterans club, first-year experience seminars and academic support,” said Col. Robert G. Knowles, Jr., the military outreach coordinator. “The center will serve as a liaison to all services so that our veterans receive the latest information and can make a seamless transition from active duty to college life,” Knowles explained.

The center will fulfill a growing need, Knowles said. GPC has one of the largest populations of veterans of the University System of Georgia’s 35 member schools. Counselors see almost 800 veterans each year, he said.

For Lewit, the center will be a welcome site. During one of his tours in Iraq, Lewit was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) and sustained a traumatic brain injury. Now, the recipient of the prestigious Combat Action Badge battles memory cognition problems.

“The faculty at GPC have been great about my brain injury. They give me extra time to take exams and really accommodate my disability while still making sure I get an outstanding education,” Lewit said. "Nevertheless, a Military Outreach Center would give combat veterans a chance to talk to one another about their experiences. Plus, with all of the information on available services that veterans need in one center, it would be harder for us to get lost in the crowd.”

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Georgia Perimeter College, the third largest institution of the University System of Georgia, serves more than 25,000 students through four campuses and several sites in metro Atlanta. For additional information, visit www.gpc.edu.