HCC and Houston Texans salute veteran students
May 17, 2016
“Veterans, you have completed the educational race and you have been rewarded with knowledge that no one can take away from you,” said a proud Colonel Kenneth Burton, during his keynote address to fellow veterans at the HCC/Houston Texans Salute to Veteran Success event.
The Houston Community College Office of Veteran Affairs recently teamed up with the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium to celebrate the accomplishments of veteran students.
“HCC veteran students have transitioned from the military culture into civilian culture,” said Dr. Cephas Archie, interim director, HCC Office of Veteran Affairs. “That’s the true measure of academic success for Houston Community College.”
Patriotic Cords of Academic Excellence were presented to more than 70 graduates to wear at the 2016 HCC Commencement Ceremony; and through a partnership between the HCC Foundation and the Houston Texans, 17 veteran students received a Houston Texans Scholarship for Service.
Texans Center Tony Bergstrom, whose father and grandfathers served in the Army, Air Force, and Marines, explained the “infatuation” football players have with the military.
“We look up to you because of your selfless service,” said Bergstrom. “You do it for the guy next to you every time. You are a great source of pride to this organization and this country.”
The Houston Texans have given the HCC Foundation more than $200,000 in scholarships for veterans and their dependents. HCC is the only community college in the nation that is an official educational partner with an NFL team.
“We are so grateful to the Houston Texans for your support of the veterans program,” said Dr. Adriana Tamez, chair, HCC Board of Trustees. “This is truly a celebration of the diligence and commitment demonstrated by HCC in our mission to support veterans and our students in pursuit of higher education.”
Scholarship recipient Angela Smith-Duncan recently retired from the U.S. Army after 19 years and is taking business courses.
Smith-Duncan said, “I think it’s amazing that veterans or active duty service members are being recognized like this because it’s an honor.”
“It feels great,” said Rogelio Zapata, a U.S. Navy veteran, who graduated with his degree in Process Technology. “When I completed my last final and got the grades, it was an overwhelming feeling of success. I had a smile from ear to ear for two days. For me it was a long accomplishment.”
HCC Foundation Vice President David Regenbaum delivered the closing remarks and said to the veterans, “This is the foundation that you can use to mold your future and I salute you.”