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Expanded Veteran Center Opens at JFK University through $326,000 Federal Grant

March 24, 2016

University's Center meets growing need among San Francisco Bay Area's veteran student population

PLEASANT HILL, CA  – Addressing a growing need to serve the region’s student veteran population, John F. Kennedy University held a dedication ceremony for its newly expanded veteran service center, which is twice as large as its previous site. The VALOR Center – which stands for Veterans Academic Ladder for Opportunity and Resilience - provides an enhanced and integrated suite of services to veteran students, and is the result of a $326,000 federal grant from the Department of Education.

The Center, located at JFK University’s main campus in Pleasant Hill, now offers expanded holistic veteran services in academic advising and tutoring, computer training, and library services, and will also host conferences such as the University’s annual “Front Line to Home Front” workshop. It provides a robust referral process for community resources, such as mental health programs and career services. 

“Our military and veteran students have sacrificed so much for our country, and we are very pleased to be providing them with this state-of-the-art Center with even more comprehensive services to meet their needs,” said Debra Bean, President of JFK University.  “At JFK University, we are dedicated to creating an exceptional student experience for all students, and that means providing our military students with specialized resources that make their transition to civilian life a transformative experience through education.”

JFK University - which has been recognized as a Military Friendly school by Victory Media, publisher of GI Jobs and Military Spouse - recognizes the power of education to help transform the lives of veterans in their career transition. The Center’s expansion also reflects a nationwide need for such services. Over the next five years, a million active and reserve members of the U.S. armed forces are expected to leave military service and return to civilian life.

“It’s important to do all we can to ease this process of transitioning to civilian life, and the expanded VALOR Center will do much to address this,” said Jared Anderson, JFK University’s Veteran Academic Advisor.

As part of the dedication ceremony, JFK University also recognized Wells Fargo, which has awarded JFK University's Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership a $50,000 grant to underwrite a program for military veteran-owned businesses that is open to military veterans and the spouses of military veterans.

JFK University’s own veteran student population has increased significantly over the past four years, and the University expects the number will continue to climb as veterans transfer from neighboring community colleges that are also seeing a boom in veteran students. Chad Eklof, a JFK University graduate student, said the University’s veterans support services at its current location was one of the reasons he enrolled as an undergraduate student.

“I use the veteran center all the time to study, to socialize with other veterans, to learn about anything that may be changing regarding veterans benefits, you name it,” said Eklof, who spent 23 years in the Army between active duty and the reserves. “Moving to a larger center and expanding its programs really underscores the fact that JFK University considers us a valuable part of the campus.”

The federal grant is the second major funding award received in recent months by JFK University, which is recognized for preparing students to be effective change-makers in the world. The U.S. Department of Education also awarded JFK University $2.6 million to fund a new Hispanic Undergraduate Success Center. Both awards reaffirm the University’s comprehensive services to support a diverse student population.