By Mary Giunca
One year after opening, the Major General Edward M. Reeder Jr. Student Veteran Resource Center at Appalachian State University is a haven for many of the student veterans, especially during peak hours of use between 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. The center is seeing an average of 28 students a day, said Eric Gormly, coordinator of student veteran services at Appalachian.
“The students talk about the joy the center brings them,” Gormly said. “I think what they value most is the camaraderie. That’s one thing you miss when you leave the military.”
The center, located on the second floor of Plemmons Student Union, offers one-stop services for the 302 veterans and active-duty military personnel on campus. Since last November when the center opened, that group has logged over 3,000 visits to the center, Gormly said.
Few people consider the culture shock that awaits service members transitioning out of the military into civilian life, said Gormly, who served in the U.S. Marines for six years. He said he draws on his own experiences to make the center user-friendly. A recent survey is further guiding development of services.
“They see school as a mission,” Gormly said. “I’m not going to say they take school more seriously, but they’re graduating in four years and they have higher graduation rates and GPAs than their counterparts. That’s true at Appalachian and [throughout] the nation.”
“We opened the center last year as a way to strengthen the level of services we provided to student veterans,” Chancellor Sheri Everts said. “I am pleased the center has proven so popular with our student veterans, because that means we are effectively meeting their needs. More, I am honored these students who have served our country so unselfishly have chosen Appalachian. We are committed to ensuring their academic success here.”
A crowd of approximately 150 gathered beside the B.B. Dougherty Administration Building on the Appalachian State University campus, Friday, Nov. 10, for a Veterans Day ceremony. A brisk wind unfurled the flag as three cadets from the Military Science and Leadership program completed the presentation of the colors. A cadre of 29 cadets stood at salute while bugler Brent Bingham ’85 played the national anthem.