Veterans Lounge being built at Potomac State
The Mountainside Marines Detachment 1071(MMD 1071) of LaVale, Md. recently donated funds to Potomac State College (PSC) of WVU to be used toward the construction of a Veterans’ Lounge at the College. Those on-hand for the donation included (left to right): Nicklaus Goff (Air Force), PSC Criminal Justice Instructor and advisor to the Student Veterans Organization (SVO); Jeff Robinette (Army), a member of the MMD 1071; PSC Student Shane Hamilton (Air Force), a criminal justice major who serves as vice president of the SVO; PSC Student Andrew Mason (Army), a criminal justice major who serves as president of the SVO, is shown receiving a check from William R. Craig (Marines), who serves as Commandant of the MMD 1071; Roland Bolyard (Marines), a member of the MMD 1071; Lucas Taylor, Director of Development at the College; and PSC President Leonard Colelli.
The idea of a Veterans Lounge at Potomac State College of West Virginia University came about during a recent visit by Congressman David McKinley, who met with student veterans to discuss some of the challenges they face when returning to college.
It was voiced that they often feel alone and disconnected from the rest of the campus community as their struggles and perspectives are often different from those who haven’t served in the military.
When asked how Potomac State could assists them, they asked if a space of their own could be provided which would enable them to meet with one another. The administration acted quickly by locating and creating a space dedicated specifically for student veterans.
“Until this meeting with our student veterans, we were unaware of how much a place of their own would benefit them and are making it a priority to complete renovations on the Veteran’s lounge area as soon as possible,” said Director of Development Lucas Taylor. “This will give them an opportunity to build a support system with one another and will enable them to work together through the unique obstacles they often face,” he added.
Upon learning about the initiative, several companies and a number of individuals contacted the College to inquire about making a donation toward the renovations of the lounge, among them are: Scott Electric Foundation, a wholesale electrical distributor in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico; the Mountainside Marines Detachment 1071of LaVale, Md.; and Boggs Supply Company; and 84 Lumber Company, both of Keyser, W.Va. Also contributing were Alumni Richard Ball, Richard Cardot and James Johnson.
Potomac State has been named to the 2015 Military Friendly Schools list for a second consecutive year by Victory Media which serves as a media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life. The designation is awarded to the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country.
“As a ‘Military Friendly’ designated school, we are always looking for ways to better support our student military veterans as a means to recognize and thank them for their sacrifices and service to our country,” said Campus President Leonard A. Colelli, Ph.D. “Our current amenities include a special military advocate in our Enrollment Services Office to advise our veterans about financial aid benefits related to their military service. We also provide veteran dedicated parking spaces on campus and special red-white-blue honor cords for our graduating student veterans during annual commencement ceremonies. We also supported the recent creation of a Student Veterans Association on campus and have also created a special flexible associate degree that permits student veterans to apply earned technical military training credits (validated on an American Council on Education transcript) toward the completion of at least half the degree requirements.
“Now, we are very proud to announce the ‘Veterans Lounge’ as a special military friendly means of enhancing the academic ‘Foundation for Success’ we have historically provided for all Potomac State College graduates. We are so appreciative of the wonderful support we are receiving from private donors to make this project a reality. There will be a dedication ceremony in the spring and a special plaque will be included in this facility with the engraved names of all donors who contributed to this project,” explained Dr. Colelli
Anyone wanting to donate tax-deductible funds in support of the College’s student veterans can do so by contacting Taylor at 304-788-6995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .