Veterans Center director named to national board

Ken McRae, director for the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans at MSU. (Photo by: Russ Houston)

Contact: Zack Plair

STARKVILLE, Miss.— A Mississippi State University staff member has been named to a national board that focuses on providing higher education opportunities for the military community.

Ken McRae, director for the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans at MSU, is now a member of the Council of College and Military Educators executive board. He will serve one year as the board’s secretary-elect followed by a year as secretary. Prior to this appointment, McRae served two years as scholarship chair for CCME’s general board.

“Ken’s value on the board is immeasurable, and this is a high-value position,” said CCME president Francisco Lopez. “We appreciate his being willing to step up to serve on the executive board, and we certainly will enjoy his continued participation in our organization.”

Originally formed by a group of community colleges in California, CCME became a national organization in the 1970s and now boasts more than 1,200 members – including colleges, universities, corporations and individuals. Lopez said the group’s mission is to better provide products and services to military service people, veterans and their dependents to enhance their educational opportunities.

McRae has led MSU’s veterans center for five years. The center provides a variety of support and outreach programs for service members, veterans and their dependents, including scholarships, transition assistance, workshops and a work-study program. It also oversees the nation’s only graduate certificate for veterans administrators and certifying officials—a program which helps certify people to best connect current and former members with their benefits.

At its campus headquarters at 126 Magruder St., the center offers a computer lab, study and meeting rooms, complimentary printing, copying, faxing and scanning, among other amenities, for MSU’s military community.

A premier facility for the Center for America's Veterans is currently under construction and will include 7,500 square-feet and feature administrative offices, a meeting area and student-support spaces.

McRae said more than 2,300 of MSU’s students were either active duty, veterans or military dependents in fall 2015, with about 1,000 students per year receiving monetary benefits through the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

Serving on the CCME board is an honor, he said, and he believes it will expand MSU’s footprint in the national veterans benefit conversation.

“It gives us an opportunity to better get Mississippi State’s name out there and show that we truly care about our veterans,” he said. “People know about our center, but now they’ll just see us more often.”

For more information on the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans, visit http://www.veterans.msstate.edu/. For more about CCME, visit http://www.ccmeonline.org/.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.