News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu
VetSuccess on Campus contact: Heather Conrad, 615-898-2974 or Heather.Conrad@va.gov
MURFREESBORO — At MTSU since early April, Heather Conrad is doubly excited about showing off her new office home that houses the VetSuccess on Campus program.
From 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, VetSuccess will host an open house that is open to the general public and MTSU community in Keathley University Center Room 124.
But before that, Conrad will be reunited with Ruth Fanning, her former supervisor who is now director of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“I’m excited to be able to spend time with her (Wednesday),” said Conrad, VetSuccess on Campus counselor at MTSU. “I started my career in Florida with her. We go way back.
“I’m excited to have her come here. VetSuccess on Campus was her baby. She developed the program. … Ours is a program she’s proud of and I’m proud of it, too.”
Conrad said the VetSuccess on Campus goal is to “serve one veteran at a time.”
“We want it to be successful,” said Conrad about the first-year program that assists veterans in many ways. “There is so much more we can do and want to do. For the early age (eight months) of the program, it has been successful.”
Conrad, who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs, said it has been a busy center, averaging between 100 to 130 contacts per month. Between late March and Sept. 30, 568 veterans received career, vocational and other assistance.
“That’s impressive, given that we have 1,054 veterans who currently are enrolled on campus,” Conrad said, adding that this total includes dependents (spouses and children).
In addition to Fanning and Conrad, other remarks will be shared by:
• Dr. Tony Johnston, chair of the Military Services Affairs committee at MTSU and School of Agribusiness and Agriscience professor;
• university President Sidney A. McPhee; and
• a member of the Blue Raiders American Veterans Organization, also called BRAVO.
At the beginning of the program, a parent of an MTSU veteran will sing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” and Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Some Gave All.”
“We’re excited to get the word out to veterans on campus, but also to the community,” Conrad said. “The open house should be a lot of fun. It’s great that the president will be here as well as Ms. Fanning.”
In her role, Conrad is a liaison to help answer questions about benefits and other related issues.
The entire VetSuccess office space, 703 square feet (more than double that of the first office in Cope Administration Building) includes a front lounge area with two Dell computers and separate offices for Conrad and a student assistant.
MTSU’s VetSuccess program was the first on a Tennessee campus and is now part of approximately 23 in the nation.
To learn more about the program, call 615-898-2974.
VetSuccess on Campus counselor Heather Conrad looks forward to the Wednesday, Nov. 14, open house in Keathley University Center Room 124. The public is invited to the event, which begins at 5 p.m. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)
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