NORFOLK, Va. — With the stroke of a pen comes a renewed effort to connect Norfolk State University students to the U.S. Coast Guard.
On Thursday morning, NSU President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gasto and Coast Guard Vice Admiral Kevin Lunday signed an agreement to continue the Coast Guard’s College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative.
Accepted full-time students will receive up to two years of tuition, fees, and other essential supplies. They’ll also enlist in the Coast Guard and receive full active duty pay and benefits while at school.
It’s a program NSU alum Lt. Cmdr. Carey Lewis experienced.
“I was trying to find a way to pay for my tuition," he said. "The Coast Guard was an opportunity that I wanted to take advantage of.”
“You have a job leaving college. Most students don’t have that. You still have to go out and interview.”
Vice Adm. Kevin Lunday, the commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, said the program allows the Coast Guard to find the best men and women and give them an opportunity to choose to serve.
Once program candidates graduate, they’ll attend officer candidate school and become commissioned officers. Lewis encourages every NSU student to take part because the opportunities are endless.
“I helped during Hurricane Maria down in Puerto Rico," Lewis said. "I was involved in some of the large oil spills down in the Gulf of Mexico. All of these opportunities are something that you don’t really think of.”
Lunday said the Coast Guard has one of the strongest relationships with NSU, which is why officials said this agreement will last for four years. The partnership started in 2017.