Norm Glover, MCCC Alumni Trustee and vice commander of the NJ Military Order of the Purple Heart, with MCCC Board of Trustees Chair Mark Matzen, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, MCCC President Dr. Jianping Wang, MCCC Director of Veterans Services John Becker, and NJ Military Order of the Purple Heart Commander Joseph Belardo during a presentation honoring Mercer as a Purple Heart Community College.
Guy Armour, Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety for Plainsboro Township, and Mark Lauder of Trenton, a military veteran and student at MCCC, following Mercer's annual 9-11 remembrance ceremony. Armour served as keynote speaker.
Mercer County Community College student veterans (from left) Bill Giraldi, Boris Petrov, Carl Federko, Norm Glover, and military spouse Ely Gonzales in the MCCC Veterans Resource Center. The center opened on Veterans Day 2015.
WEST WINDSOR – Mercer County Community College (MCCC) has been named the number one military-friendly school among all two-year colleges in the nation by Victory Media, a provider of informational resource material to U.S. active duty military personnel, veterans, and spouses.
“Our ability to apply a clear, consistent standard to the majority of colleges gives veterans a comprehensive view of which schools are striving to provide the best opportunities and conditions for our nation’s student veterans,” said Daniel Nichols, a Navy Reserve veteran and Chief Product Officer at Victory Media.
This is the second honor MCCC has received in recent months for its service to student veterans. During the college’s annual Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony, the New Jersey Military Order of the Purple Heart presented MCCC with a proclamation in recognition of being named a Purple Heart Community College – the first two-year college in New Jersey to receive the designation.
“Our student veterans put their education on hold in service to our nation, and we recognize our responsibility in helping them transition back to civilian life,” said Dr. Jianping Wang, MCCC president. “We have listened to their concerns and needs, and we responded.”
Recent improvements at MCCC include the creation of a Veterans Resource Center and study area. Currently, 153 Mercer students have veteran status, including active duty and members of the Guard and Reserves.
Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs®, STEM Jobs, and Military Spouse, established the Military Friendly® Schools rankings in 2009. It is provided to service members and their families, helping them select the best college, university, or trade school to receive the education and training needed to pursue a civilian career.
Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from Victory Media’s proprietary survey. Rating criteria includes student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, degree advancement/transfer, especially for student veterans.
John Becker, director of veterans services at MCCC, said the designation was earned through a lot of hard work that includes individuals from across campus – from Admissions to Advising to Career and Transfer Services, and a dedicated faculty.
“This was certainly a team effort,” Becker said. “It begins with understanding the needs of our students, particularly our student veterans. They contribute to the college culture through their commitment, knowledge, and life experiences, and it is our duty to reward them for their service, both in the past and in the present.”
MCCC student and military veteran Mark Lauder of Trenton, a Criminal Justice major, said the environment at Mercer helped him make the transition to civilian life and enabled him to move forward with his academic and career goals. He will graduate from MCCC in January and will continue his studies at Thomas Edison State University.
“The student-to-professor ratio is excellent and the class schedules are flexible for working students like me,” Lauder said. “I have had the resources I needed to excel.”
MCCC will be showcased along with other 2017 Military Friendly® Schools in the annual Guide to Military Friendly® Schools, special education issues of G .I. Jobs® and Military Spouse, and on militaryfriendly.com.
For more information about MCCC, visit www.mccc.edu. Information on services for veteran and military students and spouses can be found at www.mccc.edu/veterans.