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Graduating Vets Honored at New Veterans Student Center Open House

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June 2, 2017

Graduating student veterans and those new to campus, representing a wide variety of academic and professional technical programs across campus, gathered at the South Seattle College Veterans Student Center for the annual Coins & Cords recognition event on June 1, 2017. The event also served as the official welcome open house for the newly relocated Veterans Student Center, which can now be found in Rainier Hall, room 120.

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The ceremony began with opening remarks by John Phillips, Veteran Transition Specialist and Assistant Director for the TRiO Educational Opportunity Center, and Terry Powell, VetCorps Navigator at South. English instructor and US Army veteran Bob Dela Cruz officiated the “challenge coin” ceremony, presenting coins to nine new South Seattle College student veterans in appreciation of their service, sacrifice and academic achievements. Veteran “challenge coins” are a South tradition, and given to every student veteran on campus.

“Our annual coin ceremony is a holdover from the US military,” says Terry Powell. “Challenge coins are common for troops in every branch of service. Many times service members will be awarded custom coins to symbolize unit identity and presented to soldiers who have performed above and beyond the call of duty.”   

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Red, white and blue graduation cords were awarded to six graduating student veterans by Peter Lortz, Vice President of Instruction. The cords are a special recognition to show South Seattle College’s gratitude and respect for student veterans who have made both a commitment to their nation and their academic studies.

“Looking at our graduating vets, the Veterans Student Center still serves an important role on campus,” says Terry. “Veterans come here to find comradery among students who’ve also transitioned from military life. It’s a place to find people who speak the same ‘language.’ We also offer tutoring, quarterly activities and events, student mentorship and help connect students with other resources on campus.”

Congratulations to all of our graduating student veterans, and thank you for the commitment, perseverance and dedication you’ve demonstrated to reach your academic and career goals.