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Beck PRIDE Center at ASU is
implemented to serve wounded veterans

JONESBORO, Oct. 12, 2007 -- 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 United States and who would benefit from rehabilitation 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, Va. The Becks attended ASU and are strong supporters of the university.

This center is designed to "supplement but not supplant other federal and state programs benefiting veterans" said ASU-Jonesboro Chancellor Robert L. 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."

Beck PRIDE Center will have an important mission
The Beck PRIDE Center, to be housed in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, will be free, to the extent permitted by available funding, as long as the veteran meets eligibility requirements, said 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 expressed his support for the PRIDE 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, Hanrahan added.  Opportunities will be available for career counseling, skills or placement testing, and guidance from an academic advisor to assist with the development of a plan of study. Assistance will be available to the veteran for benefits advisement.  Additionally, counseling and other services will be available for veterans' family members. "The college campus is a perfect place to host this type of program and ASU is well suited for it," Potts noted.

Sigma Pi Educational Foundation will give scholarships
Two unique pieces of the program will be supported through the efforts of the Sigma Pi Educational Foundation, Inc., according to Richard Robinson, president and chief development officer. First, student members and national representatives of the fraternal organization will coordinate with the university and other groups to organize activities to promote social networking.

Second, the Foundation has worked to establish the Governor Mike Beebe Veterans Scholarship Fund. This fund is designed to provide educational and scholarship opportunities to veterans, to wounded and disabled veterans, and to the children of service men and women disabled or killed in action.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe also expressed his support for the program. "Arkansans care deeply for those who have sacrificed and suffered while serving their country," he said. "To have the Beck PRIDE Center developed at ASU and placed in Jonesboro to provide additional care for our veterans should be a source of pride for all of Arkansas."

The scholarship fund will support those eligible for the ASU PRIDE program. Robinson also noted, "This scholarship fund is the first of its kind in the Greek world. We are excited to award the first scholarships at ASU-Jonesboro in fall 2008."

Eligibility for the Beck PRIDE Center services
Persons eligible for the program will include active duty or discharged military personnel with service in defense of the United States who were casualties of this experience. This includes those experiencing traumatic brain injury, loss of limb or post-traumatic stress disorder, and those in need of rehabilitation, career counseling and educational planning.  There is no state eligibility requirement. "This program could positively affect and impact the physical, social, psychological, vocational and intellectual aspects of the veteran's life" said Hanrahan.

The first phase of this program will be limited to 50 veterans who meet the eligibility criteria.  In phase two, enrollment will be expanded to the capacity permitted by external funding.  Maj. Gen. Elder Granger, a 1976 ASU alumnus and current deputy director and chief operating officer of TRICARE Management Activity, said, "Every generation has produced a group of patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. The PRIDE program validates the gratitude of a nation for serving Americans and this group of patriots".

The Beck PRIDE Center for America's Wounded Veterans will be directed by Susan Tonymon, who holds a bachelor's degree in social work from ASU. She may be contacted at (870) 972-2624 or Information about the center is posted on the ASU Web site,

"Arkansas State University is proud to serve all veterans who are seeking an educational experience. This unique program, through the generous support of the Beck Foundation, will allow us to focus on a select group of military personnel. We are excited to make this opportunity available to our veterans," said Chancellor Potts.

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