December 04, 2009

Beebe is vice chair of consortium’s advisory panel

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Thomas H. Beebe, director of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Office of Military Programs, is vice chair of the advisory committee of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges.

Beebe, the SIUC institutional representative on the advisory board, will serve a one-year term and then become chair.

The consortium includes more than 1,850 accredited colleges and universities that provide associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees for servicemembers and their adult dependent family members, according to the organization Web site. The consortium’s mission is to help active duty servicemembers gain access to colleges and universities.

Beebe has been an advisory board member for several years. The 20-member board includes representatives of the military and higher education.

Kathy Snead, SOC consortium president and SOC director, said approximately 300,000 servicemembers on active duty are utilizing tuition assistance benefits and are enrolled for about 800,000 college courses. Not all of those servicemembers go to schools within the consortium, she said.

Beebe has been with SIUC for a total of 21 years, initially as a researcher and then as a research associate. Beebe has directed the University’s Office of Military Programs since September 1996. Prior to that, he coordinated the University’s degree program at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M. for five years.

SIUC was among the first universities to offer off-campus academic programs to military personnel, starting in 1973 at Scott Air Force Base. The program is at 39 military and civilian locations in 16 states.

The University’s Office of Military Programs coordinates the activities of the University's three colleges that offer bachelor degrees to active duty military and reserve personnel, their families, retirees, and at some locations, community members.

The appointment as vice chair is “humbling,” Beebe said.

Beebe said he wants to continue the advisory committee’s work and see the organization continue to grow strong “and be able to make sure that military members are protected from institutions that do not have the military member’s best interests in mind.”

SIUC’s military program continues to receive national recognition.

In November, Military Advanced Education magazine listed SIUC as one of the nation’s 2009 top military-friendly colleges and universities in the nation. It is the third consecutive year the University earned the honor, making SIUC one of fewer than 30 universities and colleges in the nation to make the publication’s list in each of the three years.

In addition to recognition from Military Advanced Education Magazine, in August, the University’s success earned recognition as a “Military Friendly School for 2010,” from G.I. Jobs magazine. That recognition places SIUC among the top 15 percent of 7,000 colleges, universities and trade schools in the nation, which, according to the magazine, “are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students.”

More information on veterans services offered at SIUC is available at More information on the University’s Office of Military Programs is available at