Bristol Community College held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, officially opening the newly reimagined Joseph A. Marshall Veterans Center at the BCC Fall River campus.

The larger, strategically designed space will allow the center to expand its role as the central location for all student-service and grant-related Veterans activities, while providing a sense of community among the college’s student veterans.

The new location consists of a variety of spaces designed specifically for assisting student veterans including student study space, private counseling and group activities. The college’s student veterans will have access to the center’s set of laptops to complete documentation, VA certification and for completing academic assignments. Student veterans can also utilize an open social space to relax and study.

“Our inspiring student veterans enrich our entire community through their determination, strong work ethic, problem-solving skills and comradery,” said BCC President Laura L. Douglas, Ph.D. “The accessible, highly visible new location and expanded services of the Joseph A. Marshall Veterans Center reinforce BCC’s commitment and experience with connecting student veterans and their families with crucial resources and opportunities for academic and career success. We want veterans to know Bristol Community College is the right choice for them.”

The center has been named in honor of former chair of the board of trustees Joseph A. Marshall.

“Joe is a strong, dedicated advocate for Bristol Community College and has worked fiercely to get state funding for the college’s facilities and students. He is a tireless supporter for the college’s student veterans. Having walked in their shoes, he understands the obstacles and finds ways to break down barriers,” said Joan Medeiros, chair of the Bristol Community College Board of Trustees.

Joseph A. Marshall joined the Air Force in 1965 and spent a year and a half in Italy, before serving in Vietnam for ten months and Stateside for the rest of his tour. Upon his return to civilian life, Joseph graduated from Bristol Community College in 1978, prior to transferring to Southeastern Massachusetts University (now UMass, Dartmouth), where he received his bachelor’s degree.

Mr. Marshall has strong roots in the community serving as founder and president of J. Marshall Associates for the past 30 years. He is a life-long resident of Fall River with his wife Joanne. They have four daughters and five grandchildren.

He has served in leadership roles on several city boards and community groups, including the Fall River Office of Economic Development, the Board of Assessors, SER-Jobs for Progress, the Prince Henry Society of Fall River and currently serves as the chair of the Vietnam Veterans Committee. He has served in many various roles over the years at the college. Most recently as chair of the board of trustees after serving on the board since 2007 and he is the former president of the Bristol Community College Foundation. He is the recipient of Bristol Community College’s 2007 Cornerstone Entrepreneur award and a winner of the 2016 Paragon Award, an alumni award that recognizes those who demonstrate excellence in their life work, service to the college and substantial community involvement.

"I am truly humbled by the decision of the BCC Board of Trustees to put my name on this very important resource for the college and the community," said Mr. Marshall. "As a Vietnam veteran and graduate of Bristol Community College, I feel that I understand the challenges and unique needs of student veterans. Everyone in the community should be proud of this new space. BCC has created a 'door' for veterans to walk through, feel comfortable and continue or begin an educational journey that will position them for future success."

 For more information, please visit Joseph A. Marshall Veterans Center.

--Bristol Community College

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