Veterans Study Center at ISU now open
NORMAL — Illinois State University students who are military veterans now have their own place to study and meet other vets.
Soon, they may have their own student organization.
The Veterans Study Center, next to the veterans services office on the first floor of Moulton Hall, was dedicated Friday.
In formally opening the center, President Al Bowman outlined the university’s long history of connections to the military and to veterans. He noted that the university’s first president, Charles Hovey, resigned to fight in the Civil War and helped form the 33rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
A historical photo of the 33rd Illinois Volunteers — sometimes known as “the Teachers’ Regiment” — is on the wall of the study center, along with other historical photos showing ISU military ties. The center includes computer work stations, tables and chairs, a couch and a bulletin board with information about programs and service for veterans.
Some 400 to 500 veterans enroll on campus each year, Bowman said.
Matthew Schumacher is among them. The U.S. Navy veteran is a senior and part of the Student Government Association. He said the center not only provides a place to study but also a place to meet and help other veterans.
“The transition from military to civilian life” is not always easy, Schumacher said. The center will help with that transition by providing “a place for the camaraderie that’s engrained in us.”
Senior Matthew Klus, who served in the Army, is part of the group working to form a veterans’ student organization. He said having a central meeting place will make that process easier.
Registrar Jess Ray, an Illinois National Guard veteran who will be an adviser to the student group, said the center will be a good place for having veteran-related programs.
The “Toolkit for Veteran Friendly Institutions,” developed by the American Council on Education, lists a dedicated space for veterans as a key element to helping veterans have a successful educational experience.