Beginning this September, military veterans and members of the armed forces enrolled at Alvernia will have a new destination on campus. A Veterans Center is slated to open this fall, providing centralized support for Alvernia’s growing veteran student population. Plans for the center were announced during a ceremony held today in the Frank A. Franco Library and Learning Center, attended by a number of students who are currently serving or have served in the armed forces.
Strongly supported by a number of faculty and staff members who are themselves veterans, the announcement was made possible by significant start-up funding from a trustee and proud veteran, Carl G. Anderson, Jr., and his wife, Debbie.
In a few short years, Alvernia has become a “Military-Friendly School” and an emerging national leader in the education and support of veterans, according to Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn. “This is a genuinely mission-centered initiative, faithful to the Bernardine Sisters’ historic commitment to serve those most in need of help and educational opportunity…sons and daughters of coal mining families, working women returning to school, local cops and inner-city youth and now our veterans.”
The Veterans Center resulted from a university “innovation grant” awarded to staff members Shanna Bossler, Jason Dietz and Claire Murphy. They and others will coordinate the services of the new center and will continue to work closely with the Veterans Administration and others to meet the needs of those who have served in the armed forces. They will provide training to faculty and resident advisors and work with student-veterans to develop counseling, as well as career development and financial plans.
“The idea is to coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space,” said Joseph Cicala, vice president for University Life and dean of students. “We will continue identifying best practices that will help our veterans do well in college and beyond.”
Alvernia is a member of the Yellow Ribbon Program, has earned Servicemembers Opportunity College status, and was named one of the top Military Friendly Schools in the country. The university is an increasingly popular choice for veterans, having realized a 40 percent increase in student-veteran enrollment since 2008.