With the American flag flying high, dozens of guests joined SDSU as it opened the new SDSU Veterans Center today.
Located on the northwest corner of Student Services, the expanded center features a variety of services and offices geared towards students with military backgrounds, including:
- Active-duty personnel
- Military dependents
Currently, the university serves more than 1,000 veteran, active-duty and reservist students and about 600 military dependents, said SDSU President Stephen L. Weber during the event.
Highlighting the importance of welcoming veterans at college campuses, Congressman Bob Filner, D-CA, noted the lack of support for Vietnam War veterans, especially during his time as an SDSU history professor in the 1970s and '80s. Filner recently co-sponsored the 21st Century GI Bill.
According to Filner, who currently chairs the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, a substantial percentage of the U.S. homeless population is comprised of Vietnam veterans. Additionally, more Vietnam veterans have committed suicide than died during the war, Filner said.
Other guest speakers at the event included:
- Nathaniel Donnelly, veterans coordinator, who also founded SDSU’s Student Veterans Organization as a student
- Sandra Cook, assistant vice president for academic affairs
- Ericka Korb, current president of the Student Veteran Organization
- Retired Col. Bucky Peterson, U.S. Marine Corps
A growing student population
Many speakers at the event mentioned the welcoming atmosphere created for student-veterans on the campus, and recognized the work of President Weber in supporting and welcoming the growing student population.
While SDSU opened the first Veterans Center in the California State University system two years ago, the increasing student-veteran population outgrew the location in the Education building. Now, the Veterans Center houses a Veterans Administration office, the second in the country, in addition to its other student services.
Ambassador Hostler Conference Room
During the event, several philanthropists were recognized for donating funds to help create the new center, including former Ambassador Charles Hostler and his wife, Chin-Yeh. The conference room in the new Veterans Center is dedicated to Ambassador Hostler, recognizing his commitment to SDSU student veterans.
Hostler also supports the Charles Hostler Institute on World Affairs, housed in SDSU’s College of Arts and Letters. The institute is dedicated to the analysis and discussion of international relations.
Following the event, guests toured the new Veterans Center, which includes a sitting area, the Ambassador Hostler Conference Room and an area affectionately known as “the bunker,” where student veterans can meet, study or relax.
Other student-veteran resources
SDSU was recently ranked the No. 30 veteran-friendly university in the country by Military Times Edge.
In addition to the Veterans Center, SDSU also houses the first on-campus residence for student-veterans in the country, the Student Veterans Organization House; the Troops to Teachers and Troops to Engineers programs; and the VetSuccess program, a pilot program through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.