The nearly 300 veterans who attend the Mercy College Bronx campus now have a place of their own to study, socialize or just unwind right on campus.
On Tuesday the college faculty and staff celebrated the opening of a new veteran’s center with plenty of military pride from veterans and community leaders at their 1200 Waters Place facility.
The new room, located on the second floor, has comfy couches, chairs and tables, a microwave, a refrigerator, desktop computers, a widescreen television and video game consoles for attending veterans to enjoy.
A mentor, Viviana DeCohen, will also be available to help student make use of various campus resources.
“Veterans at Mercy now have a place where we can unwind and de-stress, a place to research and study, a place where we can call our own,” said Ronald Melendez, the vice president of the Veterans of Mercy College student group and a business major.
“Words alone cannot express the gratitude we feel towards our property here.”
The facility was made possible with a $10,000 grant from the Student Veterans of America and the Home Depot Foundation, as well as additional funding from Senator Jeff Klein.
Mercy College president Tim Hall said college leadership was grateful for the service of campus veterans, and has inspired the college to find ways to support them in their transition from military to civilian life.
“We here at Mercy College are absolutely committed to supporting them and doing things to make them successful,” Hall said.
The emphasis here is to get a useful degree from a great college without piling on tremendous debt, he added.
Former Mercy director of Operations and Safety Colonel Glen Marchi serves as an advisor to the student veterans group and helped acquire funding for the new facility.
The former infantry battalion commander said that while 84 percent of officers had a bachelor degree, less than 10 percent of enlisted military personnel have one.
“That is a target rich environment for Mercy College and others to serve the needs of our veterans,” Marchi said.
Chief student affairs officer Kevin Joyce said the college had also recently received a $1.16 million award from the Nation Science Foundation to recruit veterans for tuition-free master of science program that will qualify them to teach math in high-needs schools throughout the country.
Veterans can apply at the college website, www.mercy.edu.