Kirk Erickson, who works at the Colorado Springs center, is a staff sergeant who spent 23 years in the Army, traversing Germany, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and numerous domestic bases throughout his career.
“It’s a good place to get answers. I’ve been through years of school, multiple financial aid systems, the VA and all kinds of stuff. I’ve got things I can offer someone if they get stuck because I’ve been through it all,” he said.
Gathering at the centers has also illuminated the relationship between Jesuit values and those embraced by soldiers. St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, said “teach us to give and not to count the costs.” Pryor believes that sentiment ties directly to what he learned in the military.
“I didn’t know anything about Regis before I came here and I found out that Regis’ core values are what we live by as soldiers,” he said.
John Sweet, Military and Veterans Services Coordinator, pointed out that veterans have been attending school at Regis for years, and the new generation of servicemen and women has its own unique needs.
“Best practices indicate that the top way to help today’s men and women transition from the military to higher ed, and then on to a new mission in the civilian world, is to provide them with space, fellowship, information and support,” he said.
“Vets with a support system have a much greater chance of graduating. That’s one of the things these centers provide,” he said. “Whether you have family or not, you know you can come here and we’ve got your back. Whether it’s a tutor or just someone to talk with, or someone says they want to go to sleep for a while – go ahead. We’ll turn the lights down for you, brother.”
* According to a 2012 report from the University of Colorado Denver