Pellissippi State opens Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center Nov. 11

Pellissippi State Community College celebrates the grand opening of the Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center on Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, with a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony. The community is invited to attend.

The ceremony begins at 3 p.m. in the courtyard outside the Educational Resources Center, where the new facility is housed. The Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center is located on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The dedication will be attended by Pellissippi State student veterans, area dignitaries and elected officials. The Veterans Success Center’s namesake, Ben Atchley, an early and longtime supporter of Pellissippi State, also will be present.

Atchley, who was born in Knoxville in 1930, served in the U.S. Naval Reserves–Seabees (Construction Battalion) for 10 years, 1948-58. He was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1972, then to the Senate in 1976, where he served for 28 consecutive years. He retired from the Legislature in 2004.

The Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center will centralize veteran-related services—including tutoring, mentoring, advising, financial assistance and job placement services—at a single location. The facility plans to serve an estimated 125 veterans each year.

“We’re trying to provide an additional layer of support to an important group of students, and a growing group of students, who are returning to college after service in Iraq or Afghanistan,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president.

“We want to provide the best possible environment for them to learn and grow while they’re here at Pellissippi State.”

Pellissippi State hopes the Veterans Success Center also helps increase retention among student veterans.

Statistics indicate that more than 88 percent of veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill abandon higher education pursuits after the end of their second semester of college, and only 3 percent graduate. Feelings of isolation are said to be a major contributing factor to veterans’ dropping out.

“The Veterans Success Center will offer not only the ‘formal’ network of support these students need,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs, “but it will also provide them with an informal network through which they can work together, socialize and share common interests.”

The Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center was funded in part by grants from the Tennessee College Access and Success Network and the Tennessee Board of Regents Office of Access and Diversity.

For more information about the Veterans Success Center, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.