Admiral McRaven inspires veterans, students to achieve education goals

Admiral McRaven speaks to a packed house at ACC Highland.

U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven promoted the value of a college education to military veterans and other guests during Austin Community College’s “From Humvee to ACC” veteran appreciation and resource fair held Friday, May 16, at ACC Highland.

“Your earning power, your understanding of the world, everything about you will change with a college degree,” McRaven told the audience that packed the room to hear the commander of the Special Operations Command, whose leadership is credited with successful operations such as the raid on the Osama bin Laden compound and the release of Capt. Richard Phillips from Somali pirates.

From Humvee to ACC is an annual event to connect veterans and their families to information about college and community resources. This year’s program -Â co-sponsored by National American University -Â included the keynote address by Admiral McRaven, who was introduced by his sister, ACC Board of Trustees member Nan McRaven. In his remarks, Admiral McRaven praised young veterans and encouraged the community to recognize their value in the workforce.

“They are this century’s greatest generation, without a doubt. They volunteered to come into a wartime environment,” he noted. “They have incredible integrity, incredible drive, incredible determination, and incredible patriotism.”

ACC departments and community partners set up tables to assist veterans.

Veterans in attendance included Joshua Gamboa, an ACC student who served under Admiral McRaven. Gamboa said Veterans Affairs at ACC helped him navigate his benefits and get on the road to success.

“A lot of us feel college is an unreachable goal,” Gamboa explained. “I started with a phone call to ACC. From that point on, I have never had to go very far to get the help I need.”

Help was readily available at From Humvee to ACC. After Admiral McRaven’s address, attendees visited tables and exhibits featuring ACC departments and community partners.

“We owe our service men and women a debt of gratitude,” said Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “It is our commitment to do everything we can to give them a pathway to achieve their dreams.”

Watch the entire program and view event photos:

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