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Pat Tillman Veterans Center opens at ASU

August 18, 2011

Arizona State University has opened a new veterans center on campus, named after one of its most renowned student athletes, Pat Tillman, who died serving his country in Afghanistan.

The Pat Tillman Veterans Center is a 3,340 square foot facility located in the lower level of the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus.

It will provide a single point of contact for ASU veterans and their dependents, bringing together academic and student support services to promote a smooth transition from the military, provide assistance for veterans benefits, deployments, information, and referrals, as well as a place where veterans can gather for study groups and social activities.

Master of Ceremonies for the official opening was Kent Hopkins, vice provost for enrollment management. He was joined by Betty Capaldi, executive vice president and provost, Michael McBride, assistance director of undergraduate admission and Pat Tillman’s  former academic advisor, and Jason Ohanian, veteran student in the W. P. Carey School of Business MBA program, all who joined together to cut the ceremonial ribbon.

Hundreds of dignitaries, veterans and community members attended the opening, including Pat’s brother, Kevin, Kevin’s wife, Kandi, and their daughter.  Also attending were AZ Representative Lela Alston, AZ Representative Ben Arredondo, AZ Representative Ruben Gallego, Tempe Councilmember Corey Woods, Tempe Councilmember Robin Arredondo-Savage, Tempe Councilmember Mark Mitchell, Major General Carl Schneider (Retired, US Air Force) and Brigadier General J.D. Harris, Luke Air Force Base.

Hopkins read comments from Pat’s wife, Marie, who was unable to attend.

“It is important for university campuses to acknowledge that the transition veterans experience when returning to school is unlike that of most students,” she stated. “They face unique challenges related to financial aid, adjusting to campus life, and face a general lack of understanding of their experience by their classmates. In addition to offering innovative academic support and resources, the Veterans Center will address these needs by providing a place where veterans can find a strong sense of community on campus.

“Today, Arizona State is not only honoring Pat, by opening the Pat Tillman Veterans Center,” she continued, “rather it is honoring all veterans and military families by ensuring they have direct access to the assistance and resources they need to achieve their personal, educational and career goals."

ASU’s student body includes 1,391 veterans and 387 veteran dependents.

The university was named a “Military Friendly School” by GI jobs magazine for the last two years and was named one of the top 30 “Best for Vets: Colleges 2010” by the Military Times Edge magazine.

ASU also was chosen as one of the first eight institutions to be part of the VA’s pilot program, VetSuccess on Campus. Two VA staff, a vocational rehabilitation counselor and a Vet Center outreach coordinator are assigned and located on ASU’s campus to assist veterans with services such as vocational testing, career counseling, readjustment counseling, etc., to promote successful completion of educational and employment goals.

Student led veterans clubs have been organized on the Tempe and Polytechnic campuses to provide veterans with a voice on campus, a resource to guide veterans to available resources, and an opportunity for networking and outreach. In the spring of 2011, the ASU Alumni Association launched an ASU Alumni Veterans Chapter as part of a larger plan to support veterans on campus and promote more interaction between all veterans.

For more information on ASU’s programs and support services for veteran students visit the website or call ASU Veterans Services Program Manager Christian Rauschenbach at 480-965-7723.