A Soldier and a Career College Student

Student Success Story

By Kerry Turner

Phillip Cooke Philip Cook
2006 Imagine America
LDRSHIP Award Recipient

Philip Cook describes the two best decisions he's made in his life as enlisting in the Marine Corps and thereafter enrolling at National College in Harrisonburg, VA. Last year, both his college and the Imagine America Foundation recognized his exceptional commitment to both by awarding him the LDRSHIP Award, a cash grant that will help him financially complete his studies at National College.

Among the many types of students who have chosen career colleges to obtain their postsecondary education are young men and women returning from military service in Iraq and Afghanistan. "What I didn't learn in the Marine Corps I am learning now attending [National College]," said Cook. Cook, who will graduate this year from National College with his Associate degree in Business Administration Management, believes the top-notch classes at National give him "a career and educational edge over the competition."

"I have learned a lot of information about the business world, and National is giving me a real-life look at what to expect in the world," explained Cook.

The Foundation established the Imagine America LDRSHIP Award in 2004 to recognize and honor exceptional career college students, like Philip Cook, who have served their country honorably in the military and decided to further their education at an Imagine America participating college or a Career College Association member institution. The LDRSHIP Award offers up to $5,000 in cash grants to active duty, reservist, honorably discharged or retired U.S. military veterans.

Cook, who is also an avid community service volunteer, maintains a 3.5 GPA and 96% attendance record at National College. Among his many military honors are the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Navy Unit Commendation and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

The acronym LDRSHIP stands for Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless service, Honor, Integrity and Personal courage – a description that undoubtedly fits Philip, and many other veterans who have chosen to continue their education after giving their time in service to the nation. For more information about the Imagine America LDRSHIP Award or previous award recipients, please contact the Foundation at 202.336-6800 or visit www.imagine-america.org.