October 25, 2010

Beebe named chair of consortium’s advisory board

by Pete Rosenbery

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

Beebe, the SIUC institutional representative on the advisory board, will serve a one-year term. He was advisory board vice chair prior to his new post, which was effective earlier this month.

The consortium includes more than 1,900 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’s website. The consortium’s mission is to help active duty servicemembers gain access to colleges and universities, and make a seamless transition should they need to transfer schools and credits.

Beebe has been an advisory board member for a little more than 10 years. The 20-member board includes representatives of the military and higher education, university presidents and chancellors.

Beebe has been with SIUC for a total of 22 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 University also provides educational offerings and services to approximately 1,400 active-duty military and student veterans enrolled in off-campus programs at 27 military bases and 12 civilian locations in the United 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.

Beebe said he was “stunned” at his appointment to vice chair and to now be advisory board chair. Among the advisory board’s duties in the past year was working to update the organization’s bylaws, Beebe said.

The organization offers military personnel a tremendous service by having affiliated colleges and universities provide a plan that clearly specifies the requirements to obtain a degree. In addition, the organization is committed to providing military members a seamless transition should the need arise to transfer to another college or university to ensure earned credits are protected.

The University’s military program and offerings continue to earn national recognition.

In its October issue, Military Times Edge magazine ranks SIUC second in the nation in making student military veterans’ success a priority. In the magazine’s inaugural survey, “Best for Vets: Colleges,” SIUC is second among the top 101 accredited universities, colleges, community colleges and distance-learning institutions.

In May, SIUC received the inaugural Governor’s Award for Excellence in Veterans Education, recognizing the University’s efforts to enhance the educational experiences of student military veterans. For the past several years the University has received recognition as one of the nation’s top military-friendly colleges and universities from Military Advanced Education and G.I. Jobs magazines for its efforts in assisting both veterans and active-duty military personnel.

More information on veterans services offered at SIUC is available at http://www.veterans.siuc.edu/. More information on the University’s Office of Military Programs is available at http://omp.siuc.edu/.