News

CI to hold Veterans Resource Center Grand Opening

Noted military speakers and veterans’ advocates will highlight public event

Camarillo, Calif., Oct. 31, 2011 -- CSU Channel Islands (CI) invites the community, students, faculty and staff to the grand opening of its Veterans Resource Center on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. at the Bell Tower Fountain Courtyard on the CI campus.

The event will include remarks from former NFL player, U.S. Marine, Iraq veteran and noted veteran’s advocate Jeremy Staat; Naval Base Ventura County Commander Capt. James McHugh; University President Richard Rush; Vice President of Student Affairs Wm. Gregory Sawyer; and Student Veterans Organization President Mark Scott.  Ron Greenwood, a Vietnam veteran and President of the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, will also present a $2,000 check to the Center.

After the ceremony, the public is invited to tour the Center and enjoy refreshments.  Free parking will be provided; please follow the directional signs upon arriving at the campus.

Officially opened to students this fall, the CI Veterans Resource Center is designed to support student veterans beyond the classroom while providing services that reinforce transition and improve retention.  The Center offers a comfortable and collegial place for student veterans to study, socialize with other veterans, and meet with academic advisors, tutors and mentors.

“At CI, we’ve seen a growing number of military veterans taking advantage of the G.I. Bill to seek higher education,” said Jay Derrico, Veterans Affairs Program Coordinator.  “We wanted to give them a welcoming, supportive environment to help ease their transition from military life to college and civilian life as they pursue their academic goals.”

More than 170 students at CI are veterans, members of the military, or their survivors or dependents – approximately 3 percent of the total student body.  That number is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.  The Department of Veterans Affairs reported that more than 800,000 veterans used the G.I. Bill to continue their education in 2010 – a 42 percent increase over the previous year.

Matthew KlingDeFazio, a Marine who served in Iraq, will graduate from CI this spring with a bachelor’s degree in history.  KlingDeFazio works as a student staff member at the Veterans Resource Center and founded the Student Veterans Organization on campus.

“I am very excited for this grand opening because I believe the VRC will serve as a multipurpose center for veterans and civilian students,” KlingDeFazio said.  “It’s a place where veterans can speak our minds and be with others that understand what we’ve been through.  But I also believe it will also provide a bridge to help civilian students learn more about vets, dispel misconceptions, and raise awareness of the advantages that student veterans bring to our community.”

The grand opening is one in a series of events scheduled to celebrate and support veterans in honor of Veterans Day.  On Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 11 a.m., the Veterans Resource Center will hold workshops for student veterans on job interview techniques, along with a cake cutting celebrating the Marines’ 236th anniversary.  On Friday, Nov. 11, a group of student veterans will head to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as volunteer participants in its annual Veterans Day program.

For more information, contact Jay Derrico, Veterans Affairs Program Coordinator, at 805-437-2745 or jay.derrico@csuci.edu.

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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI's strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master's degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI's Social Media.

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