San Diego State University’s Veterans Center will be renamed the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center thanks to a new $1 million donation from the couple.
The gift will create an endowment to fund the operations of the center in perpetuity.
Barron, a U.S. Navy veteran and SDSU alumnus (’60, ’98), and his wife Joan were among the first to give to the center when it was established in 2008. Since that time, they have donated toward a number of initiatives supporting student veterans, including scholarships, the SDSU’s Veterans House and the Student Veteran Organization.
“When President Weber visited us at our home in New Jersey and explained the veterans program he wanted to start at SDSU, we were ready to enlist,” said Barron, who attended SDSU on the G.I. Bill.
“We have a special place in our hearts for SDSU and all veterans. We are honored by all the young men and women who have given such service to our country and we owe them a big debt.”
Inspiring others to give
It was Barron’s initial $50,000 gift in 2008 which inspired more than $2.5 million in donations for SDSU’s Troops to College initiative from other donors and foundations, said SDSU President Stephen Weber.
“In a town with so many veterans, it is crucial that SDSU provide a culture of appreciation and support for student veterans,” Weber said.
“Because of Art and Joan’s leadership and commitment to those who’ve served, we have been able to provide the help our student veterans need to succeed at SDSU.”
Enhancing our military-friendly campus
SDSU is home to one of the largest student veteran populations in California and ranks among top 30 most military-friendly campuses in the nation.
Opened in 2008, the SDSU Veterans Center was the first in the California State University system and provides support for approximately 1,200 veteran, reservist and active-duty military students at SDSU, as well as hundreds of military dependents. To accomodate more student veterans, the center was expanded and moved in 2010. SDSU admitted more than 450 new student veterans for fall 2011.
SDSU has drawn widespread recognition, including White House kudos, for its services for veterans. SDSU is also one of three pilot campuses to host a Veterans Affairs representative on site.
Vet Center dedication event
An event to commemorate the new naming gift was held on Thursday, April 28, in front of the Veterans Center.
In addition to Weber, speakers at the event included:
- Rear Admiral William D. French, commander, U.S. Navy Region Southwest
- Ericka Korb, president, SDSU Student Veteran Organization
- Ret. Colonel Bucky Peterson, special assistant to the chancellor of the California State University for California’s “Troops to College” initiative