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College of Charleston announces new scholarship for U.S. military veterans

College of Charleston (File)

The College of Charleston has announced the establishment of it's first endowed scholarship dedicated to veterans.

Vietnam veteran Gerald "Jerry” Polis, a member of the college's Class of 1962, is establishing the Gerald D. Polis Family Endowed Veterans Scholarship.

Polis says he is dedicating the scholarship to his father and one his professors, Elmer Puryer, who both served during World War II.

Polis recalls how Puryer was determined to keep him from missing class.

“Anytime I did, he knew I was hanging out at Lowry’s Pool Hall on George Street,” Polis said, referring to the hangout located where Barnett Garden is today. “He would step across Cistern Yard, enter the pool hall, give me a tap on the shoulder and escort me to class in Randolph Hall.”

Polis, who is now retired and living in San Diego, says he is extremely happy to create the scholarship for military veterans at his alma mater.

“I am inspired that I have the opportunity to impact young people’s lives, not only the scholarship recipients, but also other students. The life experiences of our veterans will enrich the classroom experience of all CofC students.”

Even though most veterans have their tuition covered under the GI Bill, the coordinator for veteran, military and ROTC recruitment in the College’s Veteran & Military Student Services office says they often suffer "death by a thousand cuts."

“As non-traditional students, they are older and typically have a family, which leads to extra, often unexpected expenses," Matt Garrison explains. "Jerry Polis’ scholarship will give a veteran student peace of mind.”
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