Vision: Establish and maintain the standard for all universities to emulate when providing military veteran-focused educational and student support services.
Mission: To support the mission of the Division of Student Affairs through the development and implementation of outreach programs designed to provide student support services focused on the special needs and requirements of today's military veteran, servicemember, dependent and survivor. The center plays a supporting role in the development and implementation of educational and research components designed to position the university with veteran and military affiliated organizations and agencies.
Center for America's Veterans Updates:
2006-2008 - Background
- Center established in 2006.
- Staff consisted of a Director, Office Associate and Certifying Official (also included Veteran Work Study students).
- In 2006, the Center established short and long-term goals and developed a mission/vision statement which included providing comprehensive services to student veterans.
- The Center also established several different procedures in which to account for the number of student veterans, servicemembers, dependents and survivors (VSDS) on campus....the acronym VSDS was also coined by the center staff (now a nationally recognized term).
- In the Fall of 2006, the center worked with the university in developing programming to increase awareness of veteran issues and challenges and by Fall of 2007 had conducted several different events including the First Annual Fall Veteran Discovery Day.
- In 2007, the center created several new programs and identified funding for additional staff members including an Outreach Coordinator and a Benefits Coordinator. The newly established programs included Outreach and Benefits.
- In 2008, the Center started to achieve national acclaim and was recognized by several different organizations as being a leader in providing assistance to student veterans.
- National recognition in 2008 also led to several incredible opportunities for the center including the partnership with the Pat Tillman Foundation and the Wal-Mart Foundation.
- In the Fall of 2008, the center and university realized a need for a transition component and developed a Transition program. A Transition Coordinator was hired for the position.
- Also in the Fall of 2008, the center established the First Annual MSU Veterans Day Awareness Week...an event which continues to build on its prior success.
2009-2010 - Update
Established in the Fall of 2006, the Mississippi State University G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Center for America's Veterans continues to experience much success in support of the MSU student veteran, servicemember, dependent and survivor population. Continuing to build on the success of established programs including the Outreach, Transition and Benefits Programs, the Center also took some big steps in the 2009/2010 year to continue to set the national standard in providing resources and assistance to student veterans and servicemembers. While continuing to develop a Veterans Program Administration Professional Degree Program, the center established and executed its first ever Veteran Transition Program (VTP). Designed to assist combat veterans during their transition to a university setting, the VTP included a Veteran Learning Community of over 15 veterans and servicemembers who shared a similar academic class and attended a 1 hour weekly seminar delivered by the center staff. In the Fall of 2010, the center also collaborated with the Department of Counseling and Education Psychology to develop and teach COE 4990/6990: Emerging Issues: working with Veterans, Military, Personnel and their Families. A first of its kind, this course was designed to provide instruction to student counselors in developing skills to work with veterans and current military personnel and their family members. Both the VTP and COE 4990 will be available in the Fall of 2011. In a similar educational thrust, the center has also collaborated with the College of Engineering in the first stages of developing a Veteran Science/Technology/Engineering/Math (STEM) focus where the university would reach out to potential veterans who are interested in pursuing a STEM degree. Sponsored by the NSF, the STEM initiative has unlimited possibilities. The Center also continued in its partnership with the Student Counseling Center in providing a monthly Veteran Focus Group. Research initiatives, while limited, are also underway including the center sponsored Nationwide Gold Star Wives/Chapter 35 Survey. The center has also continued to receive external funding in support of scholarship initiatives. The center received support both from individuals and several non-profit organizations including the Pat Tillman Foundation who recently announced will continue to partner with Mississippi State University and the center for a third year in a row. The center also was happy to announce the endowment of a scholarship in memory of Captain Kermit Evans-an MSU Chemical Engineering Alumnus who was killed in Iraq in 2006. The veteran and servicemember lounge, located in the center, was dedicated to CPT Evans and is referred to as the Captain Evans Day Room. Additionally, in the Fall of 2010, Mississippi State was recognized by the Military Times Magazine as being within the top 20 of military/veteran friendly schools within the nation - a total of 4,000 schools were looked at during the Military Times assessment. While this recognition is due to the overall military friendliness of the university - a characterization in which the university established over 100 years ago - the center has played a supporting role in ensuring such a high national ranking. In an effort to continue to increase awareness of our military veterans, the center continued its robust programming agenda in 2009/2010 including conducting the 3rd Annual Veterans Day Awareness Week, a November 2010 Veterans Discovery Day, a 2nd Annual MSU Veterans Day Ceremony (sponsored by the Office of the President) and the Korean War Veterans Recognition Luncheon. The center also collaborated with the Greater Starkville Development Partnership and the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum to plan and execute an August 2010 WWII Veteran Recognition Ceremony. Finally, the center continues to provide support and mentorship to the growing Student Veteran Association (SVA) here on campus. The SVA's membership continues to grow and became very active in 2009-10 including fielding several intramural sports teams and sponsoring the nationally acclaimed Telling Project . The Center also partnered with the SVA to seek approval of Veteran Early Registration; a best practice among a very limited number of military/veteran friendly universities. The Center also sponsored a National Student Veterans of America Southeast Regional Conference conducted here on the campus of MSU in the Fall of 2009.