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L-r, Karolynn Heuer, Student Assistance & Parent Resource Center director; Joan Ryan, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs administrator; Dan Grant, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs director; Kathy Meyers, Veterans Resource Center assistant director; and Al Goldfarb, WIU president.

Governor's Award for Excellence in Veteran's Education

April 27, 2011


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MACOMB, IL – For the second time this semester, Western Illinois University has been recognized for its exemplary efforts in providing outstanding educational and informational resources for student veterans.

Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) Director Dan Grant presented the Governor's Award for Excellence in Veterans Education to WIU President Al Goldfarb during a ceremony at the Wright Residence Veterans Resource Center in recognition of Western's implementation of the Higher Education Veterans Service Act. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the legislation in August 2009 to expand resources and information for student veterans at Illinois' colleges and universities.

"I applaud Western Illinois University for its outstanding efforts to provide student veterans with access to on-campus resources and benefits that will help them easily make the transition back to school," said Gov. Pat Quinn. "I strongly encourage other public schools in Illinois to keep working toward making their campuses as veteran-friendly as Western."

In addition to the Governor's Award, Grant presented the WIU Veterans Resource Center a check for nearly $75,000 for a grant to provide additional outreach opportunities, such as training for faculty and staff regarding veterans' support and a special orientation for student veterans.

WIU is the third public university statewide to receive the Governor's Award for Excellence. Western has been recognized nationally as a "Military Friendly" school by GI Jobs magazine and as a "Best for Vets College" by Military Times EDGE magazine. Most recently the University received the Above and Beyond Award from the U.S. Department of Defense's National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (EGSR).

"Western has established a national reputation for providing exceptional academic support and services to active military personnel and veterans," said President Al Goldfarb. "We are most honored to receive the Governor's Award for Excellence in Veterans Education. I would like to thank Gov. Quinn and Veterans Affairs Director Dan Grant for recognizing our University's efforts."

Western provides student veterans a comprehensive Veterans Resource Center, housed in the Wright Residence on Ward Street, which offers assistance for programs, services, academic support and accessing benefits. The Wright Residence Veterans Resource Center was opened on Veterans Day 2009, providing services to about 750 veterans, reservists, guard members and active duty personnel on campus. A veteran service officer from the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs also provides one-on-one benefits information and support for student veterans at the Macomb campus.

"We are able to help minimize the barriers associated with transitioning to the University setting, and the center connects veterans and their family members with the resources necessary to help them succeed," said Kathy Meyers, assistant director of the Veterans Resource Center.

WIU also offers the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies (BGS) which serves adult students who are unable to attend a traditional college program due to other obligations, like military service.

"Western not only meets, but far exceeds, our expectations in offering student veterans the tools they need to successfully transition to the university environment," Grant said. "On behalf of Gov. Quinn, we are thrilled to recognize them and present this award."

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations