'Warrior Center' helps service members earn college degrees

Park University's new program gets an assist from Pioneer Services CEO Tom Holcom

Thousands of veterans are returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with an eye on furthering their educations. To help make those efforts easier, Park University has created the "Warrior Center" specifically to meet service members' unique needs. The school, which has its main campus in Parkville, Mo., where the Warrior Center is located, already has thousands of service members enrolled in online courses and through more than 36 campus centers located on military installations around the nation.

The Warrior Center got its start in 2009, when Pioneer Services CEO Tom Holcom and Crosby Kemper of UMB Bank came up with the idea of a special place at the university where wounded service members could receive instruction tailored to their unique backgrounds. The pair made a cash donation to get the project started that was bolstered with a $100,000 grant to create the center and its curriculum. The grand opening was Oct. 7, 2011, at which both Kemper and Holcom were recognized for their contributions and leadership.

"The idea was to have a unique place, with a unique curriculum, all specifically designed with service members in mind," said Holcom. "These men and women learn a great deal while serving their nation, and that thirst for knowledge doesn't stop after a deployment. The Warrior Center provides them with a way to quench that thirst while also giving them the tools and skills to excel in the civilian sector."

For more information about Park University's Warrior Center and other military programs, visit Park.edu. Park University has been recognized as one of the top military-friendly colleges and universities in the nation by several notable publications, including GI Jobs magazine, Military Times EDGE magazine, and Military Advanced Education.