Veterans help ACC celebrate new Highland Campus Resource Center

The ceremony honored those who have served.

Representatives from most branches of the U.S. military joined leaders from the community and Austin Community College to celebrate the opening of the ACC’s new Veterans Resource Center at its Highland Campus October 30.

“We’re here to celebrate our veterans and ensure they receive the programs and services they deserve,” said ACC President/CEO Dr. Richard Rhodes. Â “ACC wants to be the leader in providing veterans services and creating programs that accelerate college success for our heroes.”

After the presentation of colors and a moment of silence to honor those who had died in service, guest speakers shared their personal connections and their gratitude to those who have served.

“We live in a city that cares about people – that’s why we’re here,” said Dr. Andres Tijerina, ACC history professor and U.S. Air Force veteran.

Building on existing support

With the new 4,000-square-foot Highland Campus center, ACC is building on its existing services for military and veteran students by providing a central, one-stop location for obtaining veterans services and connecting with others who have served.

“ACC has always been supportive of veterans,” said Thomas Palladino, executive director of the Texas Veterans Commission, retired Army colonel, and a former ACC government professor. “We look forward to working with ACC staff to continue to improve those resources.”

Current ACC veterans offices at the Round Rock, Northridge, and Riverside campuses serve the college’s 2,200 military and veteran students through programs such as VetSuccess on Campus, College Credit for Heroes, and the annual “From Humvee to ACC” veterans appreciation and resource fair.

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell reads a special proclamation.

The college last month announced a new Veterans Training Program that will provide free training to qualified local veterans in 14 high-demand information technology fields. Additionally, through ACC’s Accelerated Programmer Training Program veterans can apply training they’ve acquired in the military toward a degree or certificate.

Noting that the city ranks second nationally for military retirees, Austin Mayor and Navy veteran Lee Leffingwell said providing resources to help veterans transition to civilian life is imperative.

“ACC’s new Veterans Resource Center gives them a starting point and will help guide them through the entire process.”

Remembering those left behind

Dr. Louella Tate, student services dean and process holder for veterans services, signs the commemorative wall in the center.

Following the ceremony, veterans and families of deceased service members were invited to sign their name or that of their loved one on a commemorative wall in the center that will be sealed as a permanent tribute.

Tijerina told guests that for veterans, recalling their service means remembering those they left behind. He added that those working with veterans should not think of them as struggling to regain a “normal” life.

“They’ve never been normal. They’ve always been extraordinary. Let’s try to share that commitment to excellence.”

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