Page 12

AN UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO

VETERANS A growing and increasingly diverse number of U.S. military veterans are enrolling in Virginia’s Community Colleges. Collectively, our colleges served nearly 38,746 veteran students during the 2015-16 academic year. Women accounted for nearly 30 percent of the veteran students compared to only 10 percent of the total U.S. veteran population. “The system is more user friendly for veterans today than when I was in college,” says Brenda Dixon, a professor of nursing at Germanna Community College. “We reach out to the veterans and employ coordinators to ease the transition of veterans to the college setting.” Dixon was the first in her family to attend college when she entered the nursing program at Germanna Community College

10

in 1980. There, a mentor’s stories of military service inspired her to enlist in the Army Reserve where she would go on to serve four years on active duty and rise to the rank of Lt. Colonel. She continued her education, earning a master’s degree and several postmaster’s certificates. Today, she is a professor at the community college where it all began. Dixon says the increased diversity seen among veteran students simply mirrors the larger community. “When I started teaching nursing in 1986, I was the only African American nursing faculty member. [Today] more minority faculty and students, from many different countries, are part of our campus fabric.”

VCCS 50th Anniversary Annual Report