Chancellor hosts veterans to commemorate Patriot Day
Sept. 11, 2012
Nathan Hurst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 573-882-6217
By Kate McIntyre
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Nearly 600,000 veterans are heading from command centers to classrooms to complete their formal educations after finishing their military service. Named a veteran-friendly school by G.I. Jobs and Military Times EDGE magazines, the University of Missouri has welcomed hundreds of these American heroes on campus.
On Sept. 11, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton and Dr. Anne Deaton hosted a Patriot Day Barbeque for veterans and their families from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Francis Quadrangle. The event included a Columbia fire truck, birds of prey from MU’s Raptor Rehabilitation Project, shelter dogs from MU’s Veterans and Shelter Dogs Program and tours of The Residence.
To support veterans during their transition from service member to student, MU opened one of the first three full-service centers for veterans and their dependents in the country. Since reopening in 2010, the Veterans Center has assisted more than 800 Mizzou student-veterans using Veterans Affairs education benefits. The center also serves MU employees who are veterans.
The MU Veterans Center assists student-veterans with class registration and employment preparation, helps them maximize their benefits and apply for grants and scholarships, and directs them to additional resources on campus, such as health services, the Office of Student Financial Aid and Office of Cashiers, the Office of Disability Services or the Student Success Center.
Robert Canine, a health sciences junior, says the center helped him adjust to campus life after 11 years of service in the Army, including two tours in Iraq.
“As a veteran and bilateral amputee, the University of Missouri has been more than accommodating to me,” Canine said. “At first, the university was a little overwhelming, but the Veterans Center has made things easy. Whatever you need, they’ll either take care of it for you or point you in the right direction.”
Canine recently interned with Welcome Home, Inc., a local shelter for homeless veterans, and will intern at the state Capitol this spring. He also hopes to open a prosthetics business in Columbia.
“The university is set up for success from the top-down,” Canine said. “The professors and the Veterans Center really care about their students and want them to succeed, and the campus is very accessible for people with disabilities.”
John Picray traveled to exotic places such as Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore during his four-year Navy contract before enrolling in the anthropology program at MU. He says the MU Veterans Center helped him use his G.I. Bill benefits and meet other student-veterans through the Missouri Student Veterans Association.
“I was living off my savings and had no support system until I walked into the Veterans Center,” Picray said. “I immediately felt at home. I was expecting at the most apathy, so to find people who really go out of their way to help veterans is a testament to the character of the university.”
The MU Veterans Center is located in N-5 Memorial Student Union on the MU campus. It is staffed by two full-time employees and five current or former active-duty service members.