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Tennessee’s community and technical colleges honor veterans, including 39 recipients of the Chancellor’s Commendation for Military Veterans for 2022


NASHVILLE (Nov. 9, 2022) – Tennessee’s community and technical colleges are honoring veterans on their campuses – students, faculty, staff and alumni – in Veterans Day activities this week. One veteran at each college will be awarded the Chancellor’s Commendation for Military Veterans, a special recognition launched three years ago by Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings.


The 39 Chancellor’s Commendation honorees for 2022 include 14 students, 14 faculty members and 11 college staff members who served in the military. Eighteen recipients served in the Army, eight in the Marine Corps, eight in the Navy, three in the Air Force, one in the Coast Guard and one in the National Guard.


The Chancellor’s Commendation is conferred in the form of a specially commissioned challenge coin featuring the military branches on one side and the Chancellor’s Commendation designation on the other. Challenge coins have a long tradition in all military branches, awarded by commanders in recognition of special achievement, excellence, hard work, unit pride, respect and esprit de corps.


The honorees are nominated by their college president. Presidents may nominate a student,  member of the faculty or staff, or an alumnus who are veterans or active-service members and who exemplify characteristics of honor, courage, commitment, integrity, duty, respect, discipline and sacrifice. Presidents describe how their nominees demonstrate those traits and how they embody values of the College System of Tennessee, such as commitment to student success, service to campus and community, courage in adversity, and academic excellence.


“Our college communities are strengthened by the presence of veterans and active-duty personnel – as students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Dr. Tydings said. “They – and the experience and perspective they bring – are an important part of the broad diversity of people and backgrounds on our campuses that benefits everyone.


“We are committed to serving them as they served our country. It’s a privilege to honor them, not only on Veterans Day but all year. I thank our presidents, our faculty and our entire campus communities for their work in ensuring that veterans are served and welcomed,” the chancellor said.


That commitment is underscored by the system’s active participation in the state’s VETS Campus program. All 13 community colleges in the system are now certified VETS Campuses, which means they prioritize outreach to veterans, allocate resources for their successful transition from military service to college, and successfully deliver services that create a supportive environment where student veterans can prosper while pursuing their education.


Two of the system’s technical colleges – the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology at Chattanooga and Dickson – have also earned VETS Campus certification, and the others are working toward earning certification, said Dr. Robert M. Denn, TBR associate vice chancellor and veterans services officer.


The VETS Campus program was established by the Tennessee Veterans Education Transition Support (VETS) Act enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2014. The statute details a rigorous set of seven requirements that colleges and universities must meet to earn VETS Campus certification. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission administers the program, awards the certifications and annually reviews compliance with the requirements.


Requirements for VETS Campus certification include mentoring and support programs for student veterans; creating and maintaining a process for assessing prior learning that grants academic credit to veterans for transferable training and experience attained through their military service; conducting annual surveys of student veterans’ views, needs, issues and suggestions, providing special orientation programs for student veterans, and more.


The 2022 Chancellor’s Commendation for Military Veterans honorees, their association with the college, and their military branches are:



Chattanooga State: William Visher, faculty, Navy

Cleveland State: Nathan Westfield, staff, Marine Corps

Columbia State: Joaquin Ortiz, staff, National Guard

Dyersburg State: Michael Peeler, staff, Army

Jackson State: Tom Pigg, faculty, Air Force

Motlow State: Jamie Roper, student, Marine Corps

Nashville State: Dawne Moore, staff, Army

Northeast State: Richard Blevins, faculty, Air Force

Pellissippi State: Erin Russell, student, Army

Roane State: Joseph Wescom, student, Army

Southwest Tennessee: Velvet McCallum, staff, Army

Volunteer State: Curtis Malone, staff, Army

Walters State: Jared Smith, staff, Navy



TCAT Athens: Russ Troutt, faculty, Navy

TCAT Chattanooga: Duane Pendergraph, staff, Marine Corps

TCAT Covington: Connie Hitzel, student, Coast Guard

TCAT Crossville: Michael McCarthy, student, Army

TCAT Crump: Gabriel Alvarado, faculty, Army

TCAT Dickson: Tom Aplin, student, Army

TCAT Elizabethton: Noah Cody, student, Marine Corps

TCAT Harriman: Victor Martin, faculty, Navy

TCAT Hartsville: Justin Oliver, student, Army

TCAT Hohenwald: Clinton Natschke, faculty, Marine Corps

TCAT Jacksboro: Don McNamara, student, Marine Corps

TCAT Jackson: Odell Dupree, staff, Army

TCAT Knoxville: Jose Miranda, faculty, Army

TCAT Livingston: Cody Schebel, student, Army

TCAT McKenzie: Denton Jordan, student, Air Force

TCAT McMinnville: Raymond Rigsby, faculty, Army

TCAT Memphis: Ricky Batts, staff, Navy

TCAT Morristown: Jared Lester, student, Marine Corps

TCAT Murfreesboro: Joshua Brown, faculty, Army

TCAT Nashville: Pat Dillard, faculty, Army

TCAT Northwest: James Daniels, faculty, Navy

TCAT Oneida/Huntsville: Lewis Wohlman, staff, Navy

TCAT Paris: Howard Pomerantz, student, Army

TCAT Pulaski: Colby Bosheers, faculty, Army

TCAT Ripley: Kenneth Nevill, faculty, Navy

TCAT Shelbyville: Daniel Perkins, student, Marine Corps


Information on resources for veterans interested in pursuing their education, including the complete list of approved VETS Campuses, is available at https://www.tn.gov/thec/veteran.html


Additional information on financial assistance, academic credit for military training and experience and other resources for veterans is available at https://www.tbr.edu/student-success/veterans-and-military-families-support




How to Apply for Education Benefits

For more information visit va.gov/education/how-to-apply/

If you need assistance with the application for benefits, you can contact the School Certifying Official at the college for assistance.

If you are unsure of the benefits available to you, please contact the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-888-442-4551 or 1-800-827-1000.

How Much Money Will I Receive?

Monthly education pay is based on which GI Bill® the veteran is entitled to receive and the length of the qualifying military service. Current payment rates can be found by visiting the VA online rate tables. Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients’ tuition and fees payments will be sent directly to the school. Monthly housing allowance and books/supplies stipends are sent directly to the student.

What Must I Do to Receive Payment?

Copies of the following documents must be submitted to the VA School Certifying Official (SCO), located in Student Services:

  • Certificate of Eligibility—1st day of training
  • DD Form 214—1st day of training
  • Post-secondary Transcripts—within two trimesters of beginning training*

The SCO will then certify the veteran’s enrollment with the VA. Once the VA receives a veteran's enrollment information, it can take 6-8 weeks for payment to be received. On the last day of each month, veterans will verify their enrollment with the VA's Web Automated Verification of Enrollment  WAVE) form, or by calling 1-877-823-2378.

Enrollment Verification

Starting in the 2021-2022 school year, Post-9/11 GI Bill® students who receive Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) and/or kicker payments are required to verify their enrollment to continue receiving their payments.

*Upon admission into a program of study, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) requires that all students be evaluated and granted appropriate credit for any program related skills in which they show proficiency. 

What Will Impact My Payments?

  • Prior training for which you are granted credit
  • Breaks in training greater than 7 days

What if I Attended a Previous School or Training Program?

Complete VA Form 22-1995 online to transfer your training to the TCAT. VRAP recipients will complete VA Form 22-1990R online.

Which GI Bill® Chapters Can Be Used at the TCATs?

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill® (Chapter 33)
  • Montgomery GI Bill® - Active Duty (Chapter 30)
  • Montgomery GI Bill® - Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606)
  • Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP/Chapter 1607)
  • Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP/Chapter 32)
  • Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA/Chapter 35)                    

NOTE: VA education benefits can only be used for full-time on-campus programs.

Where Can I Find More Information?

Students can access their information and submit questions to the VA by the following methods:


GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.