Bechtel Parsons Assists Student Veteran Relief Fund

Bechtel Parsons gift presentation photo

Eastern Kentucky University has received more than $7,000 in employee donations and matching funds from Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass for the University’s Student Veteran Relief Fund endowment project.

The Fund is being developed as part of EKU Operation Veteran Success, a series of initiatives designed to make Eastern an even more veteran-helpful campus.

The goal for the endowed fund project is to generate enough annual revenue to provide short term loans to student veterans who find themselves in a financial crisis through no fault of their own.

“Through the generous donation of $1,000, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass helped us kick off the fundraising drive to create the endowment,” explained Lt. Col. Brett Morris, Ret., associate director of veterans affairs in the University’s Student Outreach and Transition Office. “The employees decided to kick in with their own fund raising effort, so they created a challenge to raise $3,000 for the endowment drive and to get their corporate offices to match those funds.”

In less than three months, the employees exceeded their goal and, with the company’s matching funds, donated $6,102 to EKU’s initiative during a brief ceremony Dec. 8.

“We are certainly impressed with, and thankful for, the generosity that our employees have displayed for this worthwhile cause,” said Mark Seely, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass Project Manager, “We are proud to contribute toward this important endowment fund to make a positive impact for student veterans attending EKU.”

“It is very heartwarming to see the employees of Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass come to the aid of our student veterans,” Morris said. “Through their generous donation we are very near our endowment goal and making the establishment of the endowment possible in the near future.” 

EKUearned a national No. 1 ranking for its commitment to helping military veterans further their education earlier this year when Military Times EDGE magazine ranked Eastern highest among the nation’s top 100 colleges and universities listed in its 2010 “Best for Vets: Colleges” issue.

Eastern was also recognized by G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School in 2009 and 2010.

“Helping our student veterans make the transition from combat to college is what Operation Veteran Success is all about,” Morris said. “The Student Veteran Relief Fund is one part of keeping EKU as the top ‘Best for Vets’ college in the nation.”

Other EKU efforts to assist veterans include extended reduced tuition rates to all out-of-state veterans. For post 9-11 G.I. Bill recipients, both resident and non-resident, who have completed 36 months of active federal service, this means no out-of-pocket tuition costs. Also, the University has: waived the $30 admission application fee for all veterans, added recreational programming that appeals to their adventurous nature, developed a veterans-only orientation course, established a mentoring program pairing freshman veterans with returning student veterans, and instituted special cohort classes where veterans can learn together with fellow veterans.

Veterans are taking notice of EKU’s efforts. Among its 16,000-plus students, EKU now counts 650 student veterans and veteran dependents. An additional 85 veterans and military dependents are expected for the spring semester.

For more information about services available to veterans at EKU, contact the Veterans Affairs Office at 859-622-2345 or visit www.soto.eku.edu/veterans.

Published on December 10, 2010