Blinn College kicked off three days of programming honoring its more than 700 student military veterans Thursday with a flag-raising ceremony and a panel discussion in which two veterans described their experiences and the role of women in the military.
The Honoring Veterans Through Awareness and Participation series runs through Saturday, Oct. 12, and is designed to raise awareness of the College’s veteran students and the unique challenges they face reintegrating into civilian life and the classroom.
Thursday’s programming began with a flag-raising ceremony conducted by American Legion Earl Graham Post 159. At noon, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christy Gantt, Blinn’s Physical Therapy Assistant program director, and Vietnam era veteran Jerry Hince spoke to students, faculty and staff about military life, including the role women play in the military, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how military medicine treats those who are injured or ill.
The discussion served as a precursor to the Blinn Fine Arts Division’s production of “A Piece of My Heart,” a powerful drama by Shirley Lauro about six courageous women, including five nurses, sent to Vietnam and their struggle to make sense of a war that irrevocably changed them. The play, based on a true story, will be performed at 7:30 each night in the Pearson Banquet Room, and admission is free. Performances are intended for mature audiences.
On Friday, Oct. 11, Blinn will host a brown bag faculty awareness discussion moderated by Dr. Kathy Anzivino, dean of Student Services. Gantt, Director of Disability Services Brenda Wilkins and student veterans Brandon Williams and Michael Hawkins will discuss the challenges student veterans face in their return to civilian life and what their instructors can do to help them reach their academic and personal goals.
At 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, Blinn will host a flag-lowering ceremony followed by a reception for student veterans and their families prior to that evening’s performance of “A Piece of My Heart.”
The Honoring Veterans series precludes the opening of a new Veterans Resource Center on the Blinn – Bryan campus on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. The grand opening will be followed by a veterans resource fair Nov. 12 and a veterans social Nov. 13.
Blinn enrolled 18,413 students this Fall and has experienced 31.1 percent growth since 2006. Founded in 1883, the College’s tuition and fees average about one-third the cost of the same classes at most four-year public universities in the state. In addition to its four campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy, the College teaches online courses, dual credit for high school and prepares students for quick employment through its workforce education, technical training and vocational education programs. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.