Advocating for Student-Veterans

TOP OF STORY Barbara Thompson, Asst Dir of Veterans' Affairs 003Barbara Thompson is the College’s new Assistant Director of Veterans’ Affairs. She comes to Onondaga Community College from City University of New York in the Bronx where she held a similar position. Helping Veterans has been a lifelong passion for Thompson. She was born in Athens, Greece, grew up in an orphanage and was adopted by an American family at age seven. Her father spent 21 years in the Air Force working as an aircraft mechanic. “I saw all of the great things than can happen for Veterans and their families and it’s been my passion to give back,” she said.

Like most military families Thompson moved frequently. She attended five different colleges and was surprised by what she didn’t see. “None of them had offices or provided services for Veterans. I’ve dedicated myself to making sure Veterans receive the service they deserve.”

The story is much different at OCC where the College has a deep commitment to its student-veterans and their families. The full-time Office of Veteran’s Affairs offers support, assistance and information to students. As a direct link between the student-veterans and the VA regional office, the office handles applications for VA benefits and payment inquiries. Veteran tuition deferrals and veterans emergency loans may be requested through the office when financial need exists. The College’s high level of service to 350 student-veterans and their dependents has repeatedly earned it the prestigious “Military Friendly” designation by G.I. Jobs Magazine.

“It’s truly an honor to be here,” said Thompson who joined the College in March. “I look forward to completing the assessment process and gaining a greater understanding of how we can continue to assist those who have done so much for our country.”

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