North Central College - Naperville, IL

Graduating student-veterans are standout students, leaders

North Central College’s graduating student-veterans James Davidson, Adam Doden and Wesley Sorrill are standout scholars, future leaders.

Three student-veterans—James Davidson, Adam Doden and Wesley Sorrill—are among some 730 students who will graduate from North Central College in 2013 and attend Commencement June 8.

Each veteran is a standout student. They are inductees to North Central’s SALUTE national honor society and were named the outstanding student in each of their academic majors at the College’s 2013 Honors Convocation.

North Central College to award honorary degree to Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel

Longtime Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel will be awarded an honorary degree June 8 during North Central College’s 148th Commencement ceremony.

Longtime Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel will be awarded an honorary degree June 8 during North Central College’s 148th Commencement ceremony.

The Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8, is expected to draw more than 5,000 parents, alumni and visitors to North Central College’s Residence Hall/Recreation Center, 440 S. Brainard St., Naperville. Tickets are not required but seating is on a first-come, first-served basis so guests are encouraged to arrive early; doors open at 8:30 a.m. for guest seating. The academic procession begins at 9:40 a.m.

Troy D. Hammond to be inaugurated May 17 as 10th president of North Central College

The May 17 inauguration of Troy D. Hammond as 10th president of North Central College is part of a week that includes concerts and a fireworks display.

The May 17 inauguration of Troy D. Hammond as the 10th president of North Central College is part of a week that includes honors ceremonies, concerts and a fireworks display.

The inauguration occurs during Cornerstone Week, May 13-19, an annual celebration that commemorates the College’s 1870 move to Naperville from Plainfield and the laying of the cornerstone for Old Main. Some events will be webcast live. The week includes the following events:

Ryan Brazel

Veteran Student

Ryan Brazel ’14 called his college decision a “no brainer.” After interacting with North Central College’s admissions staff, the navy petty officer knew where he belonged.

“The staff at North Central was just remarkable helping me through a process that could have been a major catastrophe,” said Brazel, who was battling the clock to find a school after returning home from his fourth deployment. “I had minimal time, not to mention I was transferring from a two-year college. The wonderful people here made sure I was up and running.”

North Central has a variety of programs and events in place to help student veterans transition from military life to campus life. Some focus on academic and financial issues while others are purely recreational.  One of Brazel’s favorites is “Pizza with the President.”

“I would definitely recommend North Central to fellow military members,” he said. “This College has been one of the most military-friendly schools I have ever encountered.”

Brazel is doing his part to make it even better.

“My goal is to help all vets who come through here, from beginning to end; to help them find everything they need, from bookstores to classrooms. To make sure they’re receiving their benefits and are able to pay their bills. I want to make sure the percentage of vets who graduate here is 100 percent. They have each put in the time and earned their right to be here, whether they went through combat or not.”

Brazel is working with fellow veterans, the local Walgreens and veterans’ program advisor Dr. Renard Jackson—someone Brazel insists “must have been a vet in a previous life”—to send care packages to active units serving in Afghanistan. He’s excited about the group’s potential for growth.

“The more we work together, the better it’s going to be for future student veterans,” he said.

A boatswains mate second class petty officer in the U.S. Navy, Brazel has completed two tours of duty in Iraq and two in the Arabian Sea. He plans to major in exercise science.

Tasha Hobbs

Veteran Student

Life can get pretty hectic for chemistry major Tasha Hobbs '14. Between classes, research, work and caring for her young son, there’s rarely, if ever, a moment of free time.

“It makes for a very busy life,” said Hobbs, who served in the U.S. Army for four years. “Sometimes, it’s hard to find balance between everything.”

It helps to have professors who are on her side. That’s always been the case at North Central College.

“Whenever I find myself struggling, I can talk to any of my professors and they help me by taking the time to listen and give advice when necessary. These are people who have succeeded in my field and are my role models,” she said. “The guidance they offer is much appreciated. They understand what their students go through because they’ve been there.”

Hobbs looked at a variety of colleges when she made the decision to return to school. North Central’s location and size made it a perfect fit. She was nervous about pursuing a chemistry degree at first, but a meeting with her advisor changed that.

“He helped me see that first and foremost, I had to believe in myself,” she said.

Hobbs serves as a student mentor for a veteran’s group on campus. She is also active in SMACS (Student Members of the American Chemical Society).

“Going from the military to college was easy because there are so many people here willing to help through the transition. We (veterans) don’t have to figure all of this out alone. There’s a great network of support for us,” she said. “I knew I made the right decision in choosing North Central College.”

James Davidson

Veteran Student

James Davidson '13 planned to pursue a career in law enforcement when he enrolled at North Central College. That quickly changed when he took a general education chemistry course.

“It opened my eyes to the field of chemistry and I changed my major,” said Davidson, who’s so fascinated by the subject that he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry after completing his undergraduate studies. “My passion came from the CHM 100 class. No matter what context you think about, chemistry is an essential part of it.  It’s in the plastics that make up my laptop, the liquid display of its monitor, the colors in my clothing, my toothpaste… Before my first fall term, I didn’t know what a molecule was. [Next fall] I'll be beginning my Ph.D. in chemistry.”

It’s not just the faculty members at North Central who have stood out to Davidson—he’s been equally impressed by the admission staff.

“Dealing with government paperwork is a monolith of a task,” said Davidson, a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps. “The admission department handled it with great efficiency. There’s never been an issue.”

Davidson stays active on campus outside of class. He’s a member of two North Central student organizations: the Cycling Club and Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS).

“I certainly would recommend North Central College to other veterans,” he said. “The student body has been quite accepting and open to veterans; I know a couple other vets in the science department. Also, a hat tip to our fearless advisor and mentor Dr. Renard Jackson. He’s always on top of his game whenever any of us veterans need anything. He’s an outstanding friend to have.”

Artists present papermaking workshop to connect veterans, civilians

North Central College’s art department will host the Combat Paper Project, a daylong artistic workshop involving veterans and artists, on Oct. 30.

North Central College’s art department will host the Combat Paper Project, an artistic collaboration initiated and presented by artists Drew Cameron and Drew Matott that involves veterans, artists and academic institutions.

Based out of art studios throughout the country, the Combat Paper Project comes to North Central’s studios and campus on Tuesday, Oct. 30. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in room 17 at Meiley-Swallow Hall, Cameron and Matott will demonstrate their project utilizing papermaking workshops to help veterans reconcile and share their personal experiences.

North Central College recognized as a Military Friendly School for 2013

James Davidson, Michael Dooley and Thomas Andre are among student veterans.
North Central College has been named a 2013 Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine.

North Central College has been named a 2013 Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine.

The 2013 Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members and veterans as students. This is the second consecutive year North Central College has earned the recognition.

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