Youngstown State University today broke ground on a $1.25 million Veterans Resource Center that will help improve and expand services to military veterans and service members transitioning to university student life.
“This certainly is a great day for the university and the community,” YSU President Randy J. Dunn said. “This center ensures that those who have served their country with honor will have the opportunities and programs needed to become successful students here at YSU.”
The 6,000-square-foot, two-story center will be located between the Pollock House and Melnick Hall on Wick Avenue, a main thoroughfare through the YSU campus. The building, which should be completed by next spring, will be constructed entirely with private donations through an ongoing fund-raising campaign led by a 13-member cabinet that includes retired military personnel with close ties to YSU.
“Many of us in the veterans community and at the university have worked very hard to reach this day – breaking ground for this significant campus building,” said Carl Nunziato, a 1961 graduate of Youngstown University, Army veteran of the Vietnam War and former vice president of National City Bank Trust. “We look forward to the opening of the center, to providing for the educational needs of veteran and military students and to engaging veterans from all around our community in the life of the center.”
Nunziato and Bernie Kosar Sr., a 1959 graduate of the YSU Rayen School of Engineering and a veteran of 15 years in the Army reserves, are co-chairs of the fund-raising cabinet. Joining Nunziato and Kosar at the podium at today’s groundbreaking was Harry Meshel, a 1949 graduate of Youngstown College, a former Ohio state senator and a current member of the YSU Board of Trustees.
“We are more than half way to our fund-raising goal of $1.25 million,” said Scott Evans, vice president of University Advancement at YSU. “Our donors have responded well to private requests so far. We are hoping that this groundbreaking ceremony will inspire the community to shore up the balance.”
To make a contribution, contact the YSU Office of Development at 330-941-3119.
The Veterans Resource Center will house the YSU Office of Veterans Affairs and include staff and student offices, a conference room, study lounge, computer lab, community gathering room and storage space.
The Office of Veterans Affairs, now housed in Tod Hall, is the initial entry point for currently serving and veteran students on the YSU campus, said Rick Williams, Veterans Affairs coordinator.
The office assists with student applications, financial aid and registration, acts as an advocate for veteran/military students on campus, and regularly communicates about veteran-related activities and job opportunities on or near campus. The office also conducts various programs to recognize veterans and provides special recognition for veterans at graduation.
Williams said the new facility, which will be fully handicapped accessible, will serve as a one-stop shop for all veteran/military students and will allow the expansion of services, including processing of all GI Bills, hosting social functions for veteran/military students and providing office space for county services and Veterans Administration representatives to meet with students.
“This facility will allow YSU to offer services to veteran and military students unmatched by any other university in the region,” Williams said. “We are hopeful that the center and the expanded programming will make YSU an attractive option to veterans and military students looking to improve their civilian lives through higher education.”