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Monday, May 29, 2023

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SDSU provides space and programming for more than 3,200 military-affiliated Aztecs, including veterans, active duty and reservists. (Credit: SDSU) SDSU provides space and programming for more than 3,200 military-affiliated Aztecs, including veterans, active duty and reservists. (Credit: SDSU)

Campaign Impact: SDSU Veterans Programs

Gifts and pledges of more than $7.5 million have supported military-affiliated Aztecs.
By Coleen L. Geraghty

This is the third feature in a series about the impact of The Campaign for SDSU on academic and co-curricular programs.

San Diego State University’s national ranking among the top 25 universities for veterans is due in no small part to the success of The Campaign for SDSU.

Gifts and pledges of more than $7.5 million have enabled SDSU to expand space and programming for the more than 3,200 military-affiliated Aztecs, including veterans, active duty and reservists as well as military dependents.

“We are grateful for the strong support for our veteran’s programs,” said Mary Ruth Carleton, vice president for University Relations and Development. “Our veteran students have sacrificed so much for this country and the gifts from our donors allow the university to give back to them in a meaningful way while helping them to achieve their personal and academic goals.”

Staunch supporters

U.S. Navy veteran Art Barron (’60, ’98) and his wife, Joan, were among the first to support the veterans center with an endowed gift of $1 million. In 2011, SDSU christened the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center in their honor.

The Barron Veterans Center also received more than $17,000 during SDSU’s first-ever 24-hour online fundraising effort, the Great Give.

Other long-time supporters of veterans programs on campus include Ambassador Charles and Chinyeh (’78) Hostler, Jack McGrory (’76), who has contributed more than $500,000 in support of veterans programs at SDSU and Tom (’67) and Linda Lang (’91, ’13). The Langs’ gift will increase student-veteran involvement in SDSU’s Zahn Innovation Platform (ZIP) Launchpad.

Partnering with local industry

Student-veterans majoring in engineering have also benefited from SDSU’s Troops to Engineers S.E.R.V.I.C.E. (Success in Engineering for Recent Veterans through Internships and Career Experience) program.

Initially funded as a pilot project by the National Science Foundation, this program has been supported since 2011 by San Diego industry partners, including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Cubic and SDG&E. The companies offer paid internships and employment to SDSU student-veterans.

Veterans spaces on campus

SDSU is also home to the Student Veterans House. Established in 2009, it is the first of its kind in the United States. The university continues to support the Student Veterans House, which provides military-affiliated students with a space for meetings, workshops and events.

The Barron Veterans Center currently occupies a 4,000-square-foot space in Student Services West staffed by 10 full-time employees, including a Department of Veterans Affairs VetSuccess counselor, and 20 VA work-study students.

In addition to programs for veterans, SDSU also strives to educate the campus community about the unique needs of the military population. The Barron Veterans Center developed the Military Ally program, which educates SDSU staff, students and faculty about the cultural and social background of the military community and generates a visible network of partners on campus. Those participating in the four-hour training are equipped with resources, as well as a sticker they can display in their office to create a welcoming environment for student veterans and their dependents.

The Campaign for SDSU began in 2007 as an effort to generate philanthropic support for SDSU students, faculty, staff and programs. More than 67,000 donors have contributed to help SDSU surpass its campaign goal of $750 million.

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