The space on the second floor of the McDowell Building dedicated to serving student veterans will reopen during a grand opening Nov. 9 after several months of renovation and expansion.
Schoolcraft College’s Veterans Resource Center played a major role in helping Lauren Harman start college.
The Navy veteran was nervous about enrolling in school after spending several years in the military, but she said she felt much more comfortable after speaking with the leadership at the center.
“When starting my educational journey at Schoolcraft College, I was nervous about starting college after being out of college for eight years but upon meeting with Brent Landau, director of the veterans resource center, he listened to my concerns and really understood me first as a person and then a student and directed me in choosing the right classes that fit my current financial situation as well as the needs of my degree,” she said. “He guided me with resources that would benefit me as a veteran and made my time at Schoolcraft College less stressful.”
Schoolcraft College will soon offer a new experience for its student veterans like Harman after a several monthslong expansion of its veterans resource center.
Now named the Mark L. Whitfield Veteran & Military Services Center, the space on the second floor of the McDowell Building dedicated to serving student veterans will reopen during a grand opening Nov. 9 after several months of renovation and expansion.
With three times the usable space, the veterans resource center will have two additional office suites, a dedicated lounge dubbed the Masco Command Post and lounge space for student veterans. The new center will have more than 1,600 square feet aimed at assisting student veterans during their academic journey.
“This new space will welcome our student veterans in an unmatched way. With new amenities and offerings, we’re excited to be able to offer our vets the absolute best,” said Landau, who serves as the director of the Mark L. Whitfield Veteran & Military Services Center. “It’s only fitting we open this space during the week where we honor those who served our country in the armed forces.”
The center aids veterans and current military members to help them become thriving students at Schoolcraft College. Its mission is to help student veterans navigate the enrollment process by assisting with transcripts and other materials, as well as make sure students are aware of any eligible Veterans Affairs benefits or scholarships.
Donations fueling expansion
The center is named for Mark L. Whitfield, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who served six years in active duty, as well as spent time as a Navy Reservist. He is a retired Commander.
Funds to benefit the new center continue to be raised by the Schoolcraft College Foundation, which continues to accept donations for the space. It currently has $40,000 in matching funds given by four families: the Fausones, the Mahoneys, the Stroms and the Whitfields. To give a donation and help the resource center, please visit the Foundation’s website.
“Donating to support the Mark L. Whitfield Veteran & Military Services Center is a great way to show support to those who have fought for our freedoms,” said Dawn Magretta, executive director of the Schoolcraft College Foundation. “What better way to celebrate Veterans Day than with a gift to support our veterans looking to further their education?”
Harman served active duty in the Navy from 2014-2019, spending time on the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier, where she worked as a culinary specialist. She left active duty in 2019 as a Petty Officer 3rd Class and joined the reserves for two years before leaving the service in 2021.
She attended Schoolcraft College to complete her general education requirements before transferring to the University of Detroit-Mercy, where she is currently in her senior year studying social work. She hopes to go on to graduate school and work with hospice patients, crisis intervention, and trauma-informed care, and to get certified in suicide prevention to be able to teach it to others.
Harman said she valued her time at Schoolcraft College and believes any veteran looking to go back to school can achieve their goals.
“If I had any advice for anyone, especially veterans looking to start college, I’d say: find a career you would be okay with doing the rest of your life and go for it,” she said. “You are never too old. Stop making excuses and strive for a better future because it is achievable.
“I would recommend any veteran looking to start at Schoolcraft College to use the Veterans Resource Center as they are your own personal resource that other students don’t have access to.”
Members of the public, as well as donors, are invited to stop by a tour the space anytime from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 9.