Columbia College honors all military servicemembers May 21

Army 2nd Lt. Shawn Sharkey '08, Master Sgt. Cortez Pree '05, '08 and Air Force Cadet Daniel Kudlacz '08

The college's second Military Recognition Day will feature a flag raising ceremony, the ribbon cutting for the Veterans Service Center, refreshments and more.

Columbia College held its first Military Recognition Day in 2008, and featured Air Force, Army and Navy ROTC commanders as guests, a color guard, the raising of a U.S. flag that had flown in Iraq and President Gerald Brouder's welcome of Charles McGee '78, Tuskegee Airman, veteran of three wars and the Air Force's combat hours record holder.

This year also will feature the ribbon cutting for the Veterans Service Center in Missouri Hall. One-third of all Columbia College students are active military, retired or family members, and half the college's campuses are on military bases.

The day begins at 11 a.m. on Bass Commons on the Columbia College main campus with a solemn flag raising ceremony, a patriotic song and remarks from Brouder and Tery Donelson, assistant vice president for Enrollment Management. This flag flew at Lemoore Naval Air Station, at which the college has had a campus since 2001. And F/A-18 Hornets from Lemoore will be the main event at the Memorial Day Salute to Veterans airshow at the Columbia, Mo. airport on May 23 and 24.

The event will then move due east to the second floor of Missouri Hall for the ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m., followed by refreshments and a testimonial from a student veteran.

This event is free and open to the public. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved indoors to Launer Auditorium.

Veterans gateway

The center, located in Missouri Hall Room 224 near Admissions, Transcripts and Registration, will become in effect a gateway for veterans' academic needs. Vets also will be able to certify their VA benefits, take advantage of career services and more. The center further will have a disability services coordinator to provide accommodations for vets with disabilities.

Ramona McAfee, assistant dean for Military and Federal Programs, said, "The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides an expanded range of educational benefits for veterans, and we want to ensure we do everything we can to provide the very best educational experience for the men and women who have so valiantly served this country. This center is a symbol of our commitment to military education, and I hope more veterans will see Columbia College as the military-friendly institution it is."

Columbia College prides itself on its military friendliness. Last year, the college was recognized as a top 20 military-friendly institution by Military Advanced Education magazine.

Are you a veteran thinking about college? If you live in or near Columbia, Mo., contact Admissions at (573) 875-7352 or; or the admissions office of the campus closest to you.