September 22, 2010
Student veterans joined officials with Indiana State University, Ivy Tech Community College and the Indiana Army and Air National Guard on Wednesday to dedicate a new Veterans Resource Center.
Located in the John T. Myers Technology Center on the Indiana State campus, the center is intended to provide student veterans with a central location where they can find out about benefits and resources available to them and their families, as well as a place for camaraderie.
It is available for use by students attending any college or university in the Wabash Valley.
An $89,000 grant from the Military Family Research Institute and Operation Diploma at Purdue University, funded by Lilly Endowment, helped make the Veterans Resource Center and other initiatives for student veterans possible.
"This center is one of many ways that Indiana State is working to improve the success of our students in meeting their educational goals. This program targets a very important group - our veterans," said ISU President Dan Bradley.
"Ivy Tech is a great partner with Indiana State in helping to increase the number of Indiana residents with college degrees. We are proud of that partnership and look forward to working with Ivy Tech-Wabash Valley to ensure that both institutions provide the best service possible to this unique group of students."
Bradley thanked the Military Family Research Institute and Operation Diploma for awarding the funds.
"To all the student veterans here today, I look forward to shaking your hand when you cross the stage at commencement and I salute your dedication to building a better future for yourselves and for your families," he said.
Don Doucette, provost of Ivy Tech-Wabash Valley, pledged the community college's ongoing support for student veterans.
"It is literally true that at no time in the history of this country have so many owed so much to so select a group of professional members of the armed forces," Doucette said. "We are honored to provide educational opportunities to those returning to civilian life from great service to their country."
While Indiana is the 16th most populous state in the country, it ranks third in the number of National Guard and Reserve members who have been called to active duty since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, said Michael Caress, veterans' benefits coordinator at Indiana State.
Thanks to the Operation Diploma grant, Ivy Tech has hired a part-time veterans' coordinator who will work closely with Caress.
"This resource center is a part of a comprehensive effort by ISU and Ivy Tech to make the schools the most veteran friendly schools in the Wabash Valley," Caress said. "Veterans now have a place at Indiana State where they can come together and be with other veterans. We hope this helps make them feel more comfortable about coming to campus and, as a result, be more successful in completing a degree."
In addition to providing valuable information for veterans on the center's computers, the center allows current military members to access their military records using their military ID without having to travel to an armory or other military facility, Caress said.
Sarah Appell, outreach specialist with Operation Diploma, said dedication of the ISU Veterans Resource Center marked "a great day for anyone who understands and appreciates the critical role that faculty, staff and administrators play in supporting the efforts of student service members and veterans."
"More importantly, this marks a great day for many current service members and veterans and for future students who will come here to earn their degree," she added.
Appell said Indiana State is a flagship institution when it comes to providing a military friendly campus. She cited Caress' outreach to armories and military bases and publication of a new resource guide for student veterans.
"The work we do here is a memorial to all of the student service members that have served before us and the student service members and veterans who will continue to come to Ivy Tech and ISU," she said.
Student veteran leaders at Indiana State and Ivy Tech said the efforts of the two institutions are appreciated.
"Our mission is to assist veterans in academic and life success. We also want to promote veteran awareness and donate our time to the community," said Clay Ferguson, president of the Student Veterans Organization at Ivy Tech-Wabash Valley.
Chelsea Ellis, president of the Student Veterans Organizations at Indiana State, said that military members confide in each other.
"Coming back to school was hard. Having this center allows veterans to talk with one another and intermingle, helping one another achieve their degree," Ellis said.
About 240 student veterans currently attend Indiana State while about 200 student veterans are enrolled at Ivy Tech.
Photos: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Events/Veterans-Resource-Center/BSB0556/1018342966_N8p9r-L.jpg - Cutting the ribbon for the new Veterans Resource Center at Indiana State University were (left to right) Chief Master Sgt. Darrell Newman of the Indiana Air National Guard; Gary Busiere, veterans' benefits coordinator at Ivy Tech Community College-Wabash Valley; Michael Caress, ISU veterans' benefits coordinator; and Command Sgt. Major Darin Carlson of the Indiana Army National Guard. (ISU/Bethany Baker)
http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Events/Veterans-Resource-Center/BSB0574/1018343300_7c2RJ-L.jpg - The new Veterans Resource Center at Indiana State University is available for use by student veterans attending any college or university in the Wabash Valley. (ISU/Bethany Baker)
Contact: Michael Caress, veterans' coordinator, Office of Admissions, Indiana State University, 812-237-2540 or Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or email@example.com
Student veterans joined officials with ISU, Ivy Tech Community College and the Indiana Army and Air National Guard on Wednesday to dedicate a new Veterans Resource Center that will be available for use by veterans attending any Wabash Valley college.