Forty-two veterans, and 57 spouses or children of veterans, are currently enrolled in degree programs at Lander University, according to Helen Lewis, Veterans’ Administration coordinator for Lander’s Registrar’s Office.
Those numbers will rise, if ShelleyGrund has anything to do with it.
Grund is the new representative in the satellite admissions office that Lander has established in Greenwood’s Veterans’ Center, located in the old Greenwood County Library. The office is open Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and other times by appointment.
She will assist veterans and their family members in determining if they are eligible for help with tuition, housing, books and fees. She will also assess their skills, interests and educational backgrounds, and provide information about courses of study at Lander.
She sees herself as “a middleman to help them solve those educational questions.”
She has no intentions of sitting and waiting for veterans to come to her, however. She plans to be a regular visitor at upcoming meetings of the area’s Army National Guard and Army Reserve units.
“I’m expecting a torrent of calls once they discover that I’m here,” she said.
The anticipated downsizing of the military is also likely to increase the number of veterans seeking degrees, according to Veterans’ Affairs Officer Carey Bolt, who persuaded county officials to allow him to convert the old library building into what he believes is the largest VA Center in the state, complete with its own museum and Hall of Heroes.
“We’ve got a ton of things here. This is a one-stop shop,” he said.
For some time, the Greenwood County Veterans’ Center has been headquarters for Lander’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. Adam Taylor, Lander’s vice president for Governmental Relations, who is himself a graduate of the program, said that the addition of a satellite admissions office is a further example of the cooperative relationship that has developed between the local veterans’ center and the university.
Taylor, who was instrumental in the establishment of the center, said he is unaware of another partnership of the kind anywhere. “That’s what makes this so unique,” he said.