GGC opens Military and Veterans Success Center, memorializes first director
Georgia Gwinnett College students, staff, faculty and guests gathered this morning for a ribbon-cutting celebrating the opening of its Military and Veterans Success Center and to dedicate an honor wall in memory of Deborah Reato, the college’s first director of Veterans Success.
Several members of Reato’s family were present for the honor wall dedication. Reato, who passed away earlier this year after a battle with cancer, had worked at Georgia Gwinnett since 2011. She was responsible for developing and managing GGC’s Office of Veterans Success, a division of the college’s Office of Enrollment Management. The office was created and is dedicated to providing support services and educational benefit programs to U.S. military veterans, national guardsmen, reservists and their eligible dependents and survivors who are enrolled at GGC.
“GGC is committed to the academic success of our military students. Deborah’s enthusiastic and uniquely dedicated service was deeply appreciated and will long be remembered by the students with whom she worked so closely,” said GGC President Stas Preczewski. “Only a few months ago, she was named the Registered Student Organization Advisor of the Year for her work with the college’s student organization, the Coalition of Veteran Engagement, Readiness and Trust (COVERT).”
Dr. David Snow, director of Military Affairs for the University System of Georgia, brought greetings from the Board of Regents. John Maison, president of COVERT, also shared remarks.
“This veterans center means the college – from the president on down to the faculty and staff – wishes to inspire veterans to be successful academically and professionally,” Maison said. In recalling Reato’s service to GGC, he said. “We still miss her every day.”
Located in Building D at the corner of Collins Hill Road and Collins Industrial Way on the Georgia Gwinnett campus, the Military and Veterans Success Center has several functions, including:
- Meeting the needs of GGC students serving or who have served in the U.S. military and family members of such individuals, fostering and supporting their holistic development
- Informing student veterans, service members and veteran dependents about educational benefits for which they may be eligible and assist them with securing these benefits
- Providing programming, activities, information and referrals that promote student success
- Advocating to federal, state and community leaders on issues related to veteran students
- Serving as a resource to other GGC departments on issues and activities pertaining to the veteran community
- Acting as the college’s primary liaison to outside organizations in matters related to veteran support programs and with government agencies dealing with veteran issues
- Addressing issues pertaining to veteran students and their families with the GGC, local and state communities to build awareness and create avenues for change
Georgia Gwinnett College’s vision includes being a model institution for providing a veteran-friendly and engaging campus environment. It has twice been recognized by two military advocacy programs.
GGC was named a Military Friendly School for 2014 and 2015 by Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life. The 2014 Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus, according to Victory Media.
For the same years, GGC was also selected as a top military-friendly school by “Military Advanced Education,” the journal of higher learning for today’s service member, and KMI Media Group, a publisher of defense-related publications and websites.