DURHAM, N.C. — A center opened Monday at North Carolina Central University as a way to help the more than 400 student veterans at the university make the transition from the military to college life
NCCU veterans coordinator and U.S. Army veteran Tomeka Davis says a campus is unfamiliar territory for many veterans, who are accustomed to a structured environment.
She says that's often the opposite of what happens in a college classroom.
"Every story is different, but those who serve in the military are independent, hard workers who are not afraid of sacrifice," Davis said. "Vets are not seeking favoritism, but they do want people to understand what their service means and to recognize and honor their sacrifice to country."
The Veterans Center in the Miller-Morgan building at the Durham campus was funded by an $18,000 grant by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
In addition to resources specifically for student veterans, it includes a computer center and lounge to help them connect with one another.
"There is a bond that is formed when you join the military, a sense of camaraderie," Davis said. "That is what the Veterans Center will provide, a space to connect to others who understand our story. That's what veterans need to be successful and graduate on time."
With the end of the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan expected to be over in 2014, Davis says she expects a continuing increase in the number of NCCU veterans.
When the post-9/11 GI Bill was passed, she says, the number of veterans enrolled at the university increased nearly 63 percent.