Posted May 26, 2022
Lorain County Community College today was among the first colleges in the state to receive the Collegiate Purple Star Award from the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
The Collegiate Purple Star recognizes public and independent colleges and universities in Ohio that are supportive and inclusive of military-connected students. This is the first recognition program of its type for colleges and universities in the United States.
Today’s announcement by Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner included a list of 33 colleges and universities who are part of the inaugural class of the Collegiate Purple Star.
“At Lorain County Community College, we prioritize supporting veterans and military-connected students and work to remove barriers as they advance their education,” LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D., said. “Being named a Purple Star college recognizes LCCC’s dedication to helping veterans thrive on our campus.”
“Congratulations to the 33 schools chosen as the first Collegiate Purple Star campuses. Thank you for being examples of Ohio’s proud tradition of honoring our service men and women,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “With these Collegiate Purple Star Award designations, service members, veterans and military-connected students are able to pursue higher education knowing that their school has the necessary support system and guidance to help them find their next steps.”
The LCCC Veterans and Military Services Center serves as a one-stop shop for veterans on campus – supporting veteran students at every stage of their academic journey and beyond. Acting as Veterans Administration liaison, the center assists students in utilizing GI Bill and vocational rehabilitations benefits. The center also works closely with the Prior Learning Assessment team to ensure veterans receive credit for their military experiences.
“LCCC is committed to helping its veterans and service members navigate the path to their academic and career goals. The College is more than deserving of this Collegiate Purple Star designation,” Chancellor Randy Gardner said.
To help veterans engage in campus life, LCCC offers a Veterans Club and a dedicated veterans’ lounge on campus. Additionally, LCCC has a chapter of the LCCC Salute Veterans National Honor Society, which honors veteran students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Veronica Payne, of North Ridgeville, served four years in the Navy before she transitioned to civilian life to focus on her children. During her service, she worked in naval kitchens, keeping sailors fed as they traveled the world. After her service, she came to LCCC to further develop her love for cooking. LCCC’s office for Veterans and Military Services Center was a constant support system while navigating the enrollment process and beyond.
Payne earned an associate degree in culinary arts in May. She plans to continue her education to study the business side of culinary arts, and hopes to work at a bakery or restaurant.
With the support of LCCC, she said she is reaching her goals.
“I’m proud of how far I’ve come,” she said. “The pandemic did not slow me down; three children have not slowed down. I’m finally at the finish line, and I’m proud of myself.”