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Monday, October 12th, 2009 - 9:00 am

For Students Sake

‘From Boots to Books’ – Student Affairs introduces effort to expand services for Veterans

Purdue Calumet’s Educational Opportunity Programs recently received a grant from the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University, West Lafayette as part of its Operation Diploma initiative. Operation Diploma, supported by the Lilly Endowment, is designed to assist Indiana institutions of higher education to strengthen their efforts to support academic persistence and success among student service members and veterans.

The new program, From Boots to Books: The Veterans and Student Service Members Academic Assistance Program (FBBP), ultimately will create a network of university personnel, students and communities that provide support services to increase the likelihood of veterans and student service members completing their educational goals.

Purdue Calumet Assistant Vice Chancellor for Educational Opportunity Roy Hamilton will serve as the Project Director, while the university’s McNair Achievement Program Coordinator, Akili Shakur, will serve as Project Assistant Director. Funds have also been budgeted to cover the employment of a part-time Veterans Ombudsman to assist in project implementation. Additionally, Purdue Calumet students, faculty, staff and community members have agreed to serve on the program’s advisory council.

Hamilton said that combinations of services such as tutoring, academic monitoring, field experiences and counseling will be provided according to each participant’s assessed individual need in order to enhance participants’ retention and successful completion of his/her undergraduate degree.

“In short, we are committed to helping veterans and student service members transition from an environment where vigilance and mistrust were crucial to survival, into an environment where openness and trust are essential to success,” Hamilton said. “It is essential that we are prepared in new, creative ways, with innovative services and programs, to assist the men and women who have so ably served their country.”

Shakur, mother of a soldier serving in Iraq, agreed. “I’m especially thrilled that we will be able to assist students returning from active duty,” she said. “The more we can do to help our men and women from our military forces transition from the battlefield to the classroom, the better it will be for them to be successful college students. That’s our most important goal for this program.”

For more information about From Boots to Books at Purdue Calumet, please call 219/989-2779.