Charles Fletcher ‘08 is one of many Veterans who decided to attend College after returning from duty. What makes his story remarkable is the confluence of events that led to his academic success.
Charles barely graduated from high school and after 9/11 decided to enlist, subsequently experiencing the trauma of war in Iraq as a Marine on the front lines. Upon his return from active duty, feeling grateful for having survived not just one, but two tours in Iraq, Charles reflected on his life and decided that education was the most important next step. He then enrolled at Queensborough Community College at The City University of New York (CUNY).
“I’ve always known that deep down I have what it takes to be a strong student,” says Charles, who studied and excelled in drawing, photography and sculpture, as well as his liberal arts core courses, earning him a 3.9 G.P.A. “As soon as I arrived at Queensborough, the Veteran’s Center and my professors reached out to me. Without their incredible support, I couldn’t have made these leaps and bounds.”
“My objective with all of my students is to uncover their full potential,” says Professor Liz Di Giorgio, of Queensborough’s Department of Art and Photography. “Charles has not only demonstrated that he is a gifted student, but he also is a talented painter with a great deal to contribute to contemporary art.”
Now, Charles is a freshman at Columbia University, majoring in Visual Art and Design, with plans to pursue an MFA at Yale.
Queensborough Community College is among other CUNY Colleges that are responding to the anticipated needs of Veterans by expanding services that will help assist them in navigating the complex issues they face upon returning from duty, including applying for tuition benefits and readjusting to civilian life. (Queensborough first opened its’ Veteran’s Center in spring ’08.)