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LSCS celebrates opening of new Veterans Affairs Center

Officials cut the ribbon as part of the grand opening ceremonies for the new Lone Star College System Veterans Affairs Center.

HOUSTON (March 2, 2010) – Lone Star College System celebrated the official debut of its new Veterans Affairs Center with a grand opening event on Feb. 16.

The event featured guest speakers including U.S. Rep. Michael T. McCaul (District 10) and Dr. Charles Hines, major-general (Ret.), U.S. Army and president-emeritus of Prairie View A&M University, along with a number of LSCS officials.

Ray Laughter, vice chancellor of external affairs for LSCS, was the master of ceremonies for the morning event. Other LSCS officials who spoke to the 200-plus guests included Dr. Richard Carpenter, LSCS chancellor; Dr. Donetta Goodall, vice chancellor of academic affairs and student success; and Jose A. “Tony” Castillo, director of the new center.

“We are so pleased that you are here to help recognize those who served,” said Goodall. She pointed out that it was Dr. Carpenter’s support, encouragement and his desire to “provide the very best center possible for veterans.”

“LSCS is ranked as one of the top institutions for returning veterans,” said Dr. Carpenter. “We want this center to be a model, not just for the facility but for the people.”

The new center, Dr. Carpenter said, is “absolutely world class.”

McCaul presented Dr. Carpenter and the center director a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capital building in Washington, and he praised the college system for its innovation in creating a Veterans Affairs Center.

“I commend Lone Star College System and the chancellor,” McCaul said. “This center is of particular importance.”

McCaul said that there are more serving in the armed forces from Texas than any other state.  “People call the veterans of World War II the great generation,” he said. “I think there’s a great new generation of Americans – and I have seen them in Afghanistan.”

McCaul also said that he was confident the new center will be a great success.

“Take care of the veterans, for without our veterans, we would have no country,” he said.

Dr. Hines noted the significance of the creation of the center.

“Hundreds of thousands of vets will be returning over the next 20 years, and they will have a number of needs, including the need for higher education,” Hines said. “This particular event symbolizes quite a departure for returning vets, and it’s heartening.”

The new center, which is housed at LSC-University Park, will provide a number of services for veteran students who attend LSCS creating a one-stop shop for all veterans’ needs. For example, services will include financial guidance, disability services counseling, free tax assistance, “Veterans-Helping-Veterans” support groups, education benefits support, career counseling, and many other services geared specifically to the returning veteran.

The vision and goal is to “provide the highest level of quality service to our veteran students and their family members by becoming a model for the educational community across our nation,” said Castillo. “Our center was created to better assist our student veterans to become marketable and competitive in today’s ever-changing workforce.”

Future services will include for example, an assisted computer lab, workshops to specifically assist veterans, an academic tutoring lab, and development of a veteran-friendly business network to offer discounted and/or free services to veterans and their family members.

The center is located on the second floor at LSC-University Park between the main rotunda area and Parking Garage 11. For more information contact the center at VeteranAffairsCenter@LoneStar.edu or call (281) 290-2922.

Lone Star College System consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Park, LSC-University Center @ Montgomery, LSC-University Center @ University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. With more than 62,000 students in credit classes this spring, LSCS is the second largest and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas and the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.