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.
The Mission Statement of the Veterans Center is: To strengthen the lives of Veterans, military personnel, their families, and our community. Although still in its infancy, the Veterans Center boasts numerous groundbreaking achievements, leading the way for Veterans Centers across the country. Through coordinated efforts with students, faculty, staff, ROTC, and community partners, the Veterans Center consistently goes above and beyond to meet the needs of its stakeholders. The Veterans Center’s commitment to a learning environment of educational effectiveness, personal and professional development, and an inclusive campus culture are cornerstones of its success. Intentionality permeates everything the Veterans Center does; it is focused on assisting those it serves to become the next generation of leaders and problem-solvers given the community’s unique passion for service, personal commitment to excellence, and keen ability to complete the mission.
As is true of Iowa State University’s Strategic Plan, long after this strategic plan has expired and another is in its place, these goals will continue to be a work in progress. No matter how much progress is achieved, there will always be ways to make things better for our community – excellence, not average, is our measure.
In line with our strategic plan, our office has set down four broad strategic goals:
- Goal 1: Enhance and enrich our infrastructure to best serve the unique and varied needs of our Veterans, military personnel, and their families in an interconnected and dynamic environment. Learn More
- Goal 2: Provide an intentional and comprehensive approach to programming, support, and services that cultivates holistic wellness, promotes educational effectiveness, builds greater awareness and appreciation, and creates a safe, welcoming, accessible, empowering, and inclusive environment. Learn More
- Goal 3: Position the Center as an exemplary and leading program in the Midwest by creating a culture that inspires active participation at all levels of the organization, and where individuals learn, and are commited, to return services by incorporating new and innovative thinking. Learn More
- Goal 4: Continue to cultivate and develop relationships, which could ultimately lead to securing additional funding to accomplish, sustain, promote, and advance the mission and vision of the Center. Learn More