NASHVILLE – Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) will visit the Tri-Cities area on Thursday and Friday. He will be the keynote speaker at Northeast State Community College’s Blountville Campus on Friday recognizing the VETS Campus designation. The ceremony will begin at 1:00 p.m.

Northeast State Community College was the 11th school to receive this distinction and joins Austin Peay State University, Chattanooga State Community College, Cleveland State Community College, East Tennessee State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Pellissippi State Community College, Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technological University, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee, Volunteer State Community College and Walter State Community College.

He will be accompanied by Dr. Russ Deaton, the Interim Executive Director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC).

The 2014 VETS Act, authored and passed by Norris, provides in-state tuition to veterans upon discharge, and incentivizes “vets-friendly” campuses.

Norris chairs the Veterans Subcommittee in the Senate State and Local Government Committee.

The son of a B-24 pilot, Senator Norris has sponsored and passed many laws helping Tennessee veterans, including the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, legislation helping deployed parents deal with custody issues, enhanced Prior Learning Assessments for academic credit to vets for service-related training, and Vets Reconnect.

Northeast Community College received $94,000 under a Veterans Reconnect grant last year. That grant funded the Veterans Affairs Endowed Scholarship and the Veterans Emergency Scholarship. It enabled the purchase of new IT equipment, furniture and televisions for both the Blountville and Johnson City Campus Vet Centers, new IT equipment for the Veterans Affairs Office and the purchase of books entitled “Life During College – The Veteran’s Guide to Success” with information on the differences between military and college culture, study habits, managing finances and maximizing benefits, and employment-seeking skills.


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