Regis University Colorado Springs Campus to celebrate 35th year and open new Military and Veteran Resource Center on Oct 1; Keynote speaker is world’s first paraplegic pilot to fly a helicopter

Regis University’s Colorado Springs Campus will celebrate its 35th year in Colorado Springs and will open its first Military and Veteran Resource Center -- featuring a keynote presentation by the world’s first paraplegic pilot to fly a helicopter -- from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Oct. 1 at the University’s 7450 Campus Drive, Suite 100 location.

            A ribbon cutting ceremony for the Military and Veteran Resource Center and brief program begins at 6 p.m.  The program includes remarks by Fr. John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J., president of Regis University; Roxanne Gonzales, academic dean of Regis University’s College for Professional Studies (CPS); and the keynote speaker Captain Stewart McQuillan, R.A.F., aerospace education officer at U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, a founding member of Return Flight, which provides helicopter flight training to paraplegics and spinal cord injured veterans.

            After breaking his spine in an aircraft accident in 1988, Captain McQuillan was told he would never be able to fly again.  In 1997 he was approached by King Hussein of Jordan at the International Air Tattoo, to design a system that would allow a spinal injured pilot to fly helicopters.  In conjunction with a team from the Army Air Corps (the Blue Eagle display team) and assisted by Bristow Helicopters, they developed a system and air tested it.  After the system was fully tested for FAA approval, full certification was granted in March 2002.

            The Military and Veteran Resource Center provides a place for veterans to gather for fellowship and camaraderie, receive information from knowledgeable staff about financial aid and counseling, conduct veterans association meetings, provide training for staff and faculty on veteran-related topics, and provide a focal point for military and veterans services on campus.  The Colorado Springs Campus Military and Veteran Resource Center will be the first of two such centers that Regis University will open, with the second slated for opening Nov. 11 at the University’s North Denver (Lowell) campus.

            “This is a great opportunity for state, community and military leaders to see how Regis University is committed to taking care of its student vet population and reaching out to improve the larger society,” said John Sweet, military and veterans services coordinator.

            According to Dorothy Williams, director of the Colorado Springs Campus, CPS, which is one of three colleges at Regis University, has a storied history of providing non-traditional adult education programs and service to military and veteran students at the Colorado Springs Campus as well as at the University’s four other extension campuses. 

            Special Programs, the original name for what is now CPS, began in Colorado Springs, geared to the military market.  Called Regis Career Education Programs I, the program was the first at Regis University to implement the adult, accelerated model that recognized the adult as a different kind of learner with a need for college-level courses delivered in a different way.  Today, CPS offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees designed for busy adults in business, computer sciences, education, humanities and more. 

            About 120 people are expected to attend the 35th anniversary celebration and opening of the Military Veteran Resource Center.

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