LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 4, 2017) — The larger, renovated space of the University of Kentucky Veterans Resource Center (VRC) was formally dedicated in a ceremony on campus yesterday. The principal donor, Republic Bank Foundation, was also recognized for its generosity.
The VRC moved into the larger space on the lower level of Erikson Hall last year after having been located in Room 124 of the Funkhouser Building since it was established on campus in 2009.
Steve Trager, chairman and CEO of Republic Bank and president of the Republic Bank Foundation, said it was a great pleasure for the foundation to contribute to the renovation of the space in Erikson Hall that now serves UK student veterans.
"We are forever grateful to our veterans," Trager said. "It is our way to help, in a small way, to pay back the debt of gratitude that we have at Republic Bank."
Other speakers included UK President Eli Capilouto, UK Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Don Witt, VRC Director Tony Dotson, veteran and recent UK graduate Matthew Bradford and current student veteran Harry Smith who is president of the Student Veterans Association.
“The new center is a testament to our donors' generosity and the university’s dedication to student veteran success," Dotson said. "Our larger space allows for more congregational space as well as study space for students. We are now able to combine our resources into one physical location in order to better serve students needing assistance.”
The center serves nearly 800 military affiliated students who are veterans, active military, or dependents of military parents. The center also supports the Bluegrass Community and Technical College's student veteran population of 300-400. UK has the highest graduate rate among veterans of any public university in the state.
A Marine Corps veteran, Bradford, who is blind and walking with the aid of two prosthetic legs as the result of injuries in military battle, graduated from UK in May. During his three years at UK, the VRC provided Bradford with a range of services including escorts to and from class and assistants in the classroom.
"Getting me in touch with Tony and the Veterans Research Center helped me graduate from UK," Bradford said. "Graduating from UK was one of the most prized moments in my life."
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