ASU to Serve Wounded Veterans Through New Center

JONESBORO, AR - Arkansas State University is implementing a new center for the Personal Rehabilitation, Individual Development and Education (PRIDE) of injured military personnel who have served in defense of the U.S. and who would benefit from rehab and training in a university environment.

The program will be called the Beck PRIDE Center for America's Wounded Veterans in honor of the concept founders, Charlotte and Buddy Beck of Fairfax, Virginia.  The Becks attended ASU and are strong supporters of the university.

The center is designed to "supplement but not supplant other federal and state programs benefitting veterans," said ASU-Jonesboro chancellor Robert Potts.  "It is being established not only to offer rehabilitation and prepare these wounded warriors for post-service careers, but also to provide peer and family support during this critical period of these veterans' lives."

Potts believes the new program at ASU could be replicated at other colleges and universities across the nation.

"For this project to reach its full potential, it will require additional state and federal support," he added.  "With that support we believe this will become a national model."

The center is to be housed in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, and will be free, to the extent permitted by available funding, as long as the veteran meets eligibility requirements, according to Dr. Susan Hanrahan, dean of the college.  "The university is a very natural and therapeutic environment for veterans and their families.  It can be a place for healing and educational attainment to occur simultaneously."

Congressman Marion Berry also expressed his support for the center.  "We can never do enough to honor our veterans for their service to our country," Berry said.  "We have a moral obligation to give veterans the resources they need before, during and after their service to our nation.  The PRIDE program will help veterans transition into the next chapter of their lives, and I commend the work ASU is doing to ensure the rehabilitation and success of our heroes."

The center will provide a centralized opportunity for veterans from all service branches to utilize specialized physical and mental rehabilitation services that are available on campus, including physical therapy, speech language pathology and mental health counseling.