Iowa State University has always been student-focused. Founded in 1858, Iowa State readily embraced the ideals of the land-grant university - open higher education to all, practical learning, and the sharing of knowledge and innovation. Today, the university continues this tradition in unique and purposeful ways. It continually strives to improve the lives and experience of those who count on the university for an education, and, moreover, to empower those who look to Iowa State for leadership, vision, and support. The Veterans Center serves as one of the many vehicles the university uses to enhance the overall student experience.
Iowa State University has an outstanding history of supporting Veterans, military personnel, and their families. The Memorial Union visibly portrays the university’s early commitment to honoring our nation’s Veterans. Following World War I, students successfully rallied for the creation of a living memorial – a building that would provide services to the university and preserve the memory of those who were lost. When the Memorial Union opened its doors in 1928, the names of the Iowa State students who died in World War I were forever carved into the limestone walls of the Gold Star Hall. As new conflicts have taken place, the names of Iowa State students who gave the ultimate sacrifice protecting our Nation and our freedoms have been added to the wall in memory of their service.
In 2010, Iowa State University commissioned a Military Student Task Force to examine how to best support service members who were returning home from recent conflicts. With the newly established Post-9/11 GI Bill® (i.e., Chapter 33), which provided greater opportunities for higher education to Veterans and their dependents, it was anticipated that institutions of higher education would see an influx of Veterans on their campuses. Iowa State responded to this opportunity by committing to be an university of choice for our Nation’s Veterans, transitioning services members, and their families. In line with the recommendations from the Task Force, the university hired a Veterans Services Coordinator in May 2012 and opened the doors to the Veterans Center shortly thereafter in October 2012.
In line with our strategic plan, our office has set down four broad strategic goals: