GRCC named a Gold Level College by Michigan Veterans Affairs

Grand Rapids Community College has built a reputation for helping student veterans gain the support and education they need to be successful.

The Grand Rapids college, which has a Lakeshore campus in Holland, was named a Gold Level College by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.

The state’s Michigan Veteran-Friendly Schools Program recognizes academic institutions committed to supporting the needs of student veterans. Colleges and universities are awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze level status based on their veteran-centric services and programs.

GRCC had been a Silver Level College in the past. The college’s new Veterans Center and the work of staff supporting student veterans led to the elevated status.

“We are incredibly proud of our student veterans,” Registrar Valerie Butterfield says. “GRCC has a long history of being a veteran-friendly campus, and our new Veterans Center has helped us provide even more support. The Gold Level status reflects our commitment and our focus on finding even more ways to help veterans transition to college and be successful.”

New center helps deliver services

The U.S. Education Department in January 2021 awarded GRCC a grant to create the center, which is a hub for planning and delivering services to students who have served in the armed services.

The center, on Level G2 of Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, is staffed by Veteran Success
Coordinator Patrick Coleman, who connects veterans with campus resources including financial aid, advising, and disability support. The project also helps
GRCC expand its partnerships with state and local veterans’ agencies, helping students access benefits and support in the community.

The Veterans Center hosts workshops and events, and provides opportunities for networking and social interaction. The Veteran2Veteran program provides peer support, outreach, and resources for student veterans through Peer Advisors for Veteran Education, including veterans supporting each other through the transition to college. Services include: 
  • One-on-one advising.
  • Veterans Administration work-study positions.
  • Connections to tutoring and academic support.
  • Assistance in completing the VA education benefits process.
  • Peer support, outreach, and resources through Peer Advisors for Veteran Education.
The center is planning a veteran student orientation on Aug. 17. Student
veterans are still able to enroll in fall semester classes, which begin Aug. 29.

Students can connect with Coleman at 616-234-2578 and with the school’s benefits
certifying official, Janice Holton, by email at Additional information is available online at


Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.