Syracuse University wants to become the nation’s most committed college in support of veterans with the dedication of a gleaming new facility on campus.
And it’s hosting its annual Veterans Day ceremony on Thursday at its new National Veterans Resource Center.
The $62.5 million center, located at the Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Building, which opened on Nov. 3, features a state-of-the art information lab and career development resources for veterans. It will also annually train and support 40,000 former troops through programs that have generated 4,000 new jobs and $225 million in revenue, university officials said.
The 115,000-square-foot facility will serve as a center of research, innovation and programming for vets while advancing their economic and wellness needs — as well as the hub for SU’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families, which has already assisted more than 160,000 former troops since its 2011 launch.
Tens of thousands of other vets are expected to receive training and support in programs at the new venue or online, university officials said.
Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud said during last week’s ceremony that the opening reinforced the university’s future commitment to be known as the most supportive in the country for veterans and their families.
“In 2031, let’s not be the best private university for veterans and military-connected service members and their families, let’s be simply the best university of any kind for those who are serving or have served,” Syverud said.
“Let’s be the best university for vets, period,” he continued. “I think we can do this. If you doubt this, look around. Look what you have already achieved.”
Isabella Casillas Guzman, administrator of the US Small Business Administration, also attended the dedication as a member of President Biden’s cabinet.
IVMF’s founder and executive director, Michael Haynie, said the new center reflects Syracuse’s ongoing commitment to “paying on the moral accountability in a model of national defense where the many benefit from the sacrifice and service of the few.”
Less than 1 percent of the US population has served in the military at any given time since the draft was eliminated in 1973, Haynie said. At the building dedication, he recalled meeting a Marine Corps veteran on a plane several years ago who told him he couldn’t find a job six months after leaving the service.
The man was en route to a Veterans Administration hospital, saying a ringing in his ears kept him from sleeping more than two hours per night.
“He looked at me and said, eyes welling up with tears, worse than all of that, he feels anonymous,” Haynie said. “The NVRC represents, both in a symbolic and practical way, Syracuse University’s commitment to Tim to telling his story and creating the intellectual and social conditions between those who have served and those who have not to facilitate knowing and inclusion and understanding and empathy.”
Thursday’s Veterans Day event is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and features speeches by Charlie Poag, a Syracuse senior and a US Marine Corps veteran; Christine Brophy, a research analyst in the University’s Office of Institutional Research and a US Army veteran; Harris Krahn, a sophomore, US Marine Corps veteran and secretary of the Student Veterans Organization; as well as remarks by Syverud and Hendricks Chapel Dean Brian Konkol. The event’s keynote speaker is retired Lt. Col. Victor Holman, and the ceremony will also feature performances from the Syracuse University Singers and the 198th Army Band.