Patrick Coleman heading GRCC’s new Veterans Center, helping students transition from the military to college

Patrick Coleman wasn’t sure what to do with his life after leaving the U.S. Army in 1995, and didn’t know where he could turn to for help.

“There were no doors for me to walk through,” he said.

Coleman now will be able to help fellow veterans who are GRCC students find those doors. As GRCC’s new veteran’s success coordinator, he is overseeing the college’s new Veterans Center, opening next month in the newly renovated G2 floor of Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall.

The U.S. Education Department in January awarded GRCC a grant to create the center, which will serve as a hub for planning and delivering services to students who have served in the armed services.

The center will serve as a single point of contact, connecting veterans with campus resources including financial aid, advising and disability support. The project also will help GRCC expand its partnerships with state and local veterans’ agencies, helping students access benefits and support in the community.

The center also will help with outreach efforts, making veterans in the community aware of opportunities at GRCC to earn credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills.

The Veterans Success Center will host workshops and speakers, and provide opportunities for networking and social events for the students.

“I’m here to help our veterans after they leave the service – anything they need,” Coleman said. “Being a veteran myself, I learned there was a lot to navigate when I began my college education. There were no clear instructions on how to transition from combat to college. I can help them get around any detours they encounter. I’m the resource guy!”

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