Veterans Services has Much to Celebrate
By Eric Breier
Cal State San Marcos’ Veterans Services continued a week of events with its annual Veterans Day Observance on Thursday afternoon.
CSUSM campus members joined student veterans and dignitaries in Markstein Hall for a ceremony followed by a reception on the deck of the Veterans Center.
“Our dedication to our nation’s military is an integral part of our University’s mission to serve the diverse population of our region,” CSUSM President Karen Haynes said in her remarks. “We take great pride in supporting those who have served and their dependents; in aiding their transition from a tight-knit community in the military to a tight-knit community here at CSUSM; and in focusing on each individual and positioning them for success now and beyond graduation.”
Haynes also noted that a day earlier the California State University Board of Trustees approved the renaming of the Veterans Center to the Epstein Family Veterans Center.
The renaming of the Veterans Center follows a pledge made earlier this fall from the Epstein Family Foundation of $1 million in support of CSUSM’s Veterans Services. It is the most significant gift in support of the University’s student veterans since the donation of the center building in 2014. The gift will provide funds to physically expand the existing Veterans Center and provide an endowment to fund critical programs to support veterans and their families.
Nearly $500,000 of the gift from the Epsteins will go toward support of programming, support services and scholarships. While a groundbreaking date for the expansion has not been set, the project is due to be completed no later than Dec. 31, 2018.
The Veterans Day Observance included keynote remarks from Command Master Chief German Lira and Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez.
CSUSM computer science student Stephen Walker, who is the vice president of CSUSM’s Student Veterans Organization, served as master of ceremonies. Lira presented the Student Veterans Organization with a certificate of plank ownership from the newly commissioned, San Diego-based USS Rafael Peralta.
Another student veteran event will take place Friday night at CSUSM’s men’s basketball season opener, which is dedicated to veterans and the military. Loeber scholarships will be awarded to seven CSUSM student veterans. Bill and Suzanne Loeber, who married in July, asked their family and friends to donate to a CSUSM veterans scholarship in lieu of wedding gifts.
The Veterans Center is a place where military-affiliated students can receive support in achieving their academic and career goals with services tailored to their unique needs. Staff assist students in navigating the admissions process, accessing VA and California education benefits, registering for courses, finding campus resources and getting involved in leadership and social activities.