Serving Those Who Served Our Country
Veterans benefit from programs at Mount St. Mary and elsewhere
Photo by Mike Strasser, West Point Public Affairs Office
United States Military Academy at West Point
Orange County is respectful of its long-standing ties to the military.
• The United States Military Academy at West Point has been a dominant presence – and source of enormous pride – since it was founded in 1805.
• Stewart International Airport, which opened in Newburgh in 1930, has hosted a number of different military attachments during times of war and peace. Today’s resident military presence, the 105th Airlift Wing, is made up of more than 1,700 guardsmen, with nearly 700 civilians also employed. Furthermore, the U.S. Air Force has chosen Stewart to receive eight C-17 Globemaster III transport planes, the first of which should arrive this summer.
• Adding to the county’s military heritage are countless military sites and memorials, many dating to the Revolutionary War. Since both George Washington and General David Petraeus have called Orange County home, it’s a bit more palatable to admit that Benedict Arnold did likewise.
Fortunately, Orange County not only celebrates military achievements and leaders of the past but also looks to the future, creating comprehensive and relevant continuing education programs for today’s returning veterans.
Beyond West Point and Stewart Airport’s Air National Guard installation,, programs are held at Orange County’s only private, four-year college – Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh. Veterans can enroll in a variety of both credit and non-credit courses at discounted rates.
“At any one time, we have about 450 adults enrolled in our continuing education courses; about 100 of them are veterans,” says Lisa Gallina, Mount St. Mary’s Director of Continuing Education. “Most veterans want courses in business and human services,” she adds. That jibes nicely with the college’s academic strengths as a top institution for degree programs in education and nursing.
Mount St. Mary maintains a close working relationship with community colleges in Ulster, Dutchess and Rockland counties, as well as SUNY Orange, otherwise known as Orange County Community College, another institution of higher learning that’s particularly attuned to veterans’ needs. Gallina says this strong level of cooperation is in everyone’s best interests, most importantly the veterans. “We don’t compete with community colleges, but rather we collaborate with them.”
Enabling vets to pursue degrees isn’t a passive enterprise for Gallina and her staff. “We’re always reaching out to veterans, and we have various marketing initiatives, including hosting many events for them,” she says.
Photo by Michael Nelson
Lisa Gallina, left, and Mount St. Mary staff
Another way in which Mount St. Mary serves the Orange County community is through its Desmond Campus for Adult Enrichment. Some courses are aimed at those 55 years and over and are part of the Mount’s LIFE program, which includes everything from courses in foreign languages to discussions of the arts, history and events relevant to the day’s issues. Meanwhile, Mount St. Mary’s Community Education program is open to all ages and boasts an array of programs in the arts, health and fitness, and quality of life topics. The Community Education program also offers courses to maximize an individual’s performance in the workplace, many devoted to mastering technology and its applications.