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hen Bruce Weeks arrived at
Middlesex in 2000, there were
very few services for veterans on
campus. Unhappy with that
state of affairs, the tenacious
former Marine began rattling cages and
didn't let up.
"Bruce just kept after me, saying, `We need
more services for vets. We can do more,' "
said Pam Flaherty, MCC's Dean of Students.
"And I knew he was right!"
Over the next few years, as the military
conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan escalated,
Flaherty wholeheartedly joined Weeks'
campaign. "We were seeing more and more
veterans at the college, especially members of
the National Guard and Reserves," said
"The way we envisioned it, Middlesex could
play a dual role by providing educational
opportunities to these soldiers and former
soldiers, as well as veterans resources to make
the transition easier," she said.
It took longer than they expected, but Weeks
and Flaherty eventually achieved their goal:
MCC's Veterans Resource Center (VRC)
was established in the fall of 2008. But they
are the first to admit they didn't do it alone.
MCC Nursing Professor Marie Ryder and
Dorothy O'Connell, Director of MCC's
Health Services Office, were key players in
getting the VRC off the ground, explained
Flaherty. Staff at Bedford's Edith Nourse
Rogers Memorial Veterans Medical Center
also offered guidance and assistance, as did
other student veterans, she said, especially
Becky Arevalo Lodi, MCC's first female
combat veteran.
And, even though Weeks had graduated from
MCC in 2006 with a degree in Paralegal
Studies and transferred to UMass Lowell, he
stayed active in the campaign by serving on
the college's Veterans Advisory Board. The
VRC founders also were able to generate
funding, including a very generous three-year
start-up grant from the Ray and Grace
Ciccolo Family Foundation.
With locations on the Bedford and Lowell
campuses, MCC's VRC is now under the
direction of Richard Reppucci, himself a
veteran and retired Department of Veteran's
Affairs counselor. Both VRC locations offer a
place where veterans can access information
about college resources, as well as outside
support services for military personnel and
their families.
"This is an information and retrieval center,"
said Reppucci, gesturing around Bedford's
VRC. "We inform veterans and their families
of the potential resources available to them."
Veterans Resource Center
Promoting a Smooth Transition
from the Military to College
Bedford Campus VRC
Room 206, Campus Center (Building 8)
591 Springs Road
Lowell Campus VRC
Room 117, City Building
33 Kearney Square
Rick Reppucci,
Bruce Weeks, Advocate
Key players behind MCC's Veterans Resource Center (left to right):
Middlesex graduate and former Marine Bruce Weeks, Dean of
Students Pamela Flaherty and VRC Coordinator Richard Reppucci.