Contact: Allison Matthews
STARKVILLE, Miss.—A career military officer with 23 years of active service is the new director of the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans at Mississippi State University.
Brian S. Locke, a retired lieutenant colonel who has led the center on an interim basis since early 2017, was named the permanent director this week. The Montgomery Center is based in Nusz Hall, a world-class facility that opened in 2016 and provides 7,500 square feet dedicated to the university’s veteran community.
“Brian is dedicating the next stage in his life to helping those students who also have sacrificed for this state and nation,” said MSU Dean of Students Thomas Bourgeois. “I am confident that Mississippi State’s prestige as a university that serves and supports our student veterans, dependents and survivors will only continue to thrive and grow,” he added.
Mississippi State is rated a Top 50 university for veterans by Military Times and recently earned the 2018 Military Friendly Schools Gold Status for its veteran-oriented campus culture. MSU also was designated a “Purple Heart University” in 2015 by the Military Order of the Purple Heart for outstanding service to military veterans, service members, dependents and survivors.
Locke previously served as a professor of military science and department head for MSU’s Army ROTC program. Prior to his assignment at Mississippi State, Locke served as a military police officer with leadership assignments throughout the United States, Germany, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He has deployed in support of Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn in Iraq, where he specialized in police training and detention operations.
A highlight of his military career, Locke served as a battalion executive officer at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and was responsible for reactivating and building an Army battalion from the ground up to more than 500 soldiers. He supervised a diverse staff and managed equipment valued at more than $10 million, and after deploying the battalion to Iraq, he oversaw the transfer of more than 200 high security threat detainees and $80 million worth of equipment to the Iraqi government, while also managing construction contracts in excess of $28 million.
A native of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Middle Tennessee State University, and a master’s in counseling and development from Long Island University. He also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
At MSU, Locke said his focus is to ensure that all military-connected students at the university receive individualized support to assist with their unique circumstances.
“Our vision is to be a nationally recognized leader in higher education by providing world-class support through focused programs and services,” Locke said. He explained that the center provides an environment where veterans and their dependents feel welcomed and engaged.
Nusz Hall features student support spaces, a computer lab, study rooms, a meeting area, administrative offices, lounge area and outdoor patio space. The building honors the legacy of the late Congressman G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery and was made possible by alumni Tommy and Terri Nusz, who contributed a significant gift to salute multiple generations of U.S. military personnel.
Staff members assist with state and federal educational benefits and help students transition to civilian and student life.
Locke said in addition to formal help with veteran resources, the center provides a comfortable environment for both study and social activities, as well as a place where veterans can build supportive relationships. For more, visit www.veterans.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.