Veteran students offered exclusive history course

07.30.2014 | By Andrea Vasquez

Beginning this Fall, San Jacinto College will offer a U.S. history course exclusively for veteran students.

“I had a desire to work with this special group of men and women, so I asked that the course be created,” said San Jacinto College history professor, Kearby Lyde, who will teach this course. “I have found that my veteran students are, most often, more serious about their goals and their education. I think a lot of that comes from their experiences in the military.”

Lyde, who has taught at San Jacinto College for almost 40 years, has a background in military and diplomatic history. During his time as a history professor at the College, Lyde has interviewed more than 2,000 veterans who fought in World Wars I and II, were in China in the 1930s, flew on the Doolittle raid in 1942, cracked German code, and dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. “So many of them lost friends who were closer than family, so I feel it’s important to keep as many of those stories as alive as possible,” he said. Since 1981, Lyde has also organized student and faculty trips to Europe that include many locations of both World Wars. “It’s much easier to talk about aspects of WWI and WWII after having ‘walked the ground.’”

The course is a reserved section of HIST 1302, which covers the second half of American history, post-Civil War America through the 20th century. Lyde believes the veteran students themselves will contribute a lot to the class given their own experiences. “I think the difference between this course and others will be the veterans themselves and their shared military experiences. They will be able to relate to what their fathers and grandfathers went through, and will be able to look at events in a ‘big picture’ sort of way, finally seeing the long-term effects of decisions made 50 to 100 years ago.”

Veteran student and South Campus veteran center staff member, Claudia Milton, says that this course can easily be a comfortable environment for veterans starting college courses for the first time. “They can feel more comfortable in the classroom and not feel so out of place, especially if it’s the veterans first semester,” said Milton, a Navy veteran.

South Campus Veteran Success Coordinator, Eugene Bernard, says this course is yet another opportunity the College is providing veteran students to meet other veterans on campus, allowing them to build important supportive networks. “The veteran centers have been very successful in creating a sense of community with our student-veteran population,” said Bernard. “The students have started taking classes together and forming study groups amongst themselves. This history course that is exclusively for veterans is a great opportunity for that camaraderie to be extended.”

Registration for the course is available to San Jacinto College veteran students through their campus Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success.

San Jacinto College continues to be a leader in veteran student services and education. Last Spring, the College hosted the first Veteran Resource Fair at the South Campus, where local representatives from various organizations provided student and community veterans information on benefits, career opportunities, medical care, and reservist information. In addition, San Jacinto College earned it’s fourth Military Friendly Schools rating from Victory Media, Inc., and was named a “Best College for Vets” by Military Times in 2014.

For more information on registration for the history course and other San Jacinto College veteran services, visit

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 credit students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career and workforce preparation. Students benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region, and a support system that maps out a pathway for success. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

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