Veterans Center at Great Falls College gets a new name

Gabby Encarnacion
Veterans Center at Great Falls College gets a new name
Posted at 9:22 AM, Nov 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-11 11:22:41-05

Great Falls College has changed the name of its center for veterans, their spouses, and their dependents to the Military Family Center as a way to more accurately reflect the mission of the center.

Some family members were hesitant to make use of the area when it was named the Veterans Center, said Kevin Lyons, veterans success coach at Great Falls College.

“We want the center to be as inviting and inclusive as possible,” Lyons said. “Everyone who has earned the right to make use of our services should feel comfortable.”

Kevin Lyons

The center provides computer work stations, free printing, a refrigerator, coffee maker, and study rooms. The Military Family Center also checks out books, study guides, and anatomical models.

Lyons polled numerous veterans about the name change and received 100 percent positive comments about the change.

Laura Detrick, a veteran and an alumnus of Great Falls College who now attends Montana State University and whose husband also is a veteran, was supportive of the change because she saw first hand the hesitation of her son to use the center.

“I think that’s a fabulous idea,” Detrick wrote Lyons. “It took quite a bit of convincing for Ryan to be comfortable with taking advantage of what his parents earned.”

Another veteran, Dan Harvey, who is a student in the industrial technician program at Great Falls College, was very encouraging of the proposal.

“I think that is a great idea,” he said. “The families have served this country as well, especially when their loved one is out on deployment.”

After gathering feedback on his idea, Lyons brought the proposal to the college’s executive council, which approved the name change.

“It was an easy an easy decision,” said Dr. Stephanie Erdmann, CEO and dean of Great Falls College. “The veterans and their family members play a vital role in our mission and campus life, and we want to be sure they all feel our support of them.”

Lyons has data definitively showing those who use the center have higher grade-point averages, retention rates and graduation rates than those who are eligible to use it and don’t make use of the services the center offers.