February 28, 2019
NICEVILLE, FL – Northwest Florida State College today celebrated the grand opening of the Veterans Success Center with a ribbon cutting event. The Veterans Success Center, located in building 500 at the Niceville campus, provides a one-stop shop to expand educational opportunities, transitional services and career services for veterans and their families. Joining President Dr. Devin Stephenson in making remarks at the Grand Opening were Florida House Representative Mel Ponder, Gulf Power Company President Marlene Santos, Central District General Manager of Gulf Power Bernard Johnson, Major General Thomas “Rudy” Wright, USAF Retired and NWF Board of Trustees Vice-Chairman, and Major General Don Litke, USAF Retired and NWF Board of Trustees Member.
The Veterans Success Center offers a tranquil, professional and respectful location, including state-of-the-art infrastructure and technology, where veterans can study or pursue other scholastic assignments. The Center creates a cooperative community for veterans and provides resources for leadership, support, advisement and campus engagement.
“Today is extremely important because Northwest Florida State College’s Veterans Success Center provides veterans specialized customer service in higher education,” said Florida House Representative Mel Ponder. “Last year, I worked diligently to sponsor the Military Tuition Assistance bill, which waives state fees for active duty service members at Florida Colleges. This year, I’m sponsoring the Veterans Success Center House Bill 2279, which will provide appropriations to assist in funding this valuable service to the men and women who have served our country.”
The Veterans Success Center will greatly expand employment, educational opportunities, and successful integration into civilian life for veterans, active duty service members nearing separation or retirement, Reserves, Guard and military dependents.
Florida Senator George Gainer provided the following supportive thoughts for this announcement, “The Veterans Success Center is another example how Northwest Florida shows our love for veterans, and we will do whatever we can to support them. As a Military and Veterans Affairs and Space Committee Member, I’m extremely pleased to see Northwest Florida State College providing veterans with specialized attention to navigate and succeed in higher education.”
In addition to legislative support for the military, the Northwest Florida State College Board of Trustees unanimously approved last year to waive all fees for active duty military using tuition assistance.
“The Veterans Success Center concept could not have taken flight without the support from legislators and generous donors in our community like the Gulf Power Foundation,” said Dr. Devin Stephenson, president. “Northwest Florida State College has a long and proud history providing educational assistance and opportunities which make a positive impact for our nation’s active duty military, military veterans and their families. We were recently named a Military Friendly College, and the Veterans Success Center is our way of making the world a better place for our veterans.”
Gulf Power Foundation recently pledged $150,000 to assist in the establishment of the Veterans Success Center at Northwest Florida State College.
NWF History Supporting the Military
- NWF State College was named the first Military Order of the Purple Heart College in Florida.
- In 2017, the NWF Hurlburt Field Center was named one of the top 25 military testing centers in the nation.
- NWF was named a Military Friendly College for 2019-2020 by Viqtory Media.
- NWF has the highest number of students (2,537) receiving Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits in the Florida College System, four times the system average of 664 students.
Summary of the Veterans Success Center
The Veterans Success Center offers resources to those eligible in applying for benefits to which they are entitled under federal or state law or regulations due to Active Military Service in the Armed Forces of the United States. The Veterans Success Center:
- Assists service members, veterans, and family members with their transition to a collegiate experience and achieve academic success by establishing dedicated navigators/advisors and career placement specialists to provide specialized services, mentoring, individualized training, job placement, and personal development designed to provide employment opportunities while both in college and after completing college.
- Expands military-specific resources by providing military transcript evaluation and credit for military training, provides GI Bill information and processing, and assists in any other tuition assistance processing needed; provide information and application assistance for available scholarships and military tuition reduction opportunities.
- Provides expanded program for service dog training in Northwest Florida.
- Provides a location where veterans can hold workshops and meet with other local and national veterans’ service organizations.
- Provides assistance with the Department of Veterans Affairs (including assistance with the preparation of formal claims and appeals relating to compensation, education, loan guaranty for homes, special adapted housing, pension, medical care, insurance, burial benefits, veterans’ disability services, and related matters).
Photos from the event (please credit Northwest Florida State College): https://nwfsc.smugmug.com/2019-Events/Veterans-Success-Center-Grand-Opening/