SDSU awarded veterans grant

by Michelle Monroy, Staff Writer

San Diego State has been awarded a grant of $132,000 from JPMorgan Chase to help aid and develop programs for veteran education.

The grant was received by Vice President for Student Affairs Eric Rivera last Thursday at a reception aboard the U.S.S. Midway, SDSU Media Relations Manager Beth Chee said.

It is expected to expand the outreach program offered through the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center. The program reaches out to veterans on military bases who are transitioning from active duty to college.

“It allows us to reach out to more of those active duty service members who are separating because up until this grant, we’ve only had one individual who was able to do that,” said Veterans Coordinator Todd Kennedy.

The Veterans Center was able to hire Derek Abbey to help connect with veterans as far as Camp Pendleton.

The grant will also help develop a veterans mentoring program that aims to help new student veterans at SDSU get the resources and guidance they need to adapt to their new environment.

“The grant has helped us put another staff member in our office, so it’s been able to help me and the other veteran assistant with our work load,” said Candace Whittington, a SDSU alumna and veterans center assistant.

The grant awarded to SDSU is part of a $1 million commitment that JPMorgan Chase has made to fund higher education programs for veterans.

“We started looking at colleges and universities that had large numbers of student veterans already and also had existing programs and SDSU came to the top of the list,” said Maureen Casey, director of Military and Veterans Affairs for JPMorgan Chase.

According to Casey, the company hopes that the program will help veterans better assimilate into college campuses, stay in school and complete their degrees.

Casey said the company liked that SDSU wanted to help administrators and staff understand military culture better.

Kennedy said that the grant will have a direct affect on the veteran community because of a program called Vet Net Ally which will offer administrators, faculty and staff informational sessions that will help them better understand military culture, challenges and motivations for veteran students.

According to Kennedy, the Veterans center at SDSU helps more than 3,000 students every semester, including veterans, active duty, reservists and military dependents. With the grant now in effect, Kennedy expects an increase in applications and enrollment.

We’re just going to keep doing it because we’ve got the willingness and desire to support student vets,” said Kennedy. “We’re not in it for kudos, we’re not in it for accolades, we’re not in it for the ‘Oh look at us,’ it’s the feeling of giving back to those who have given a lot.”