ISU And Ivy Tech Receive New Grant To Help Student Veterans

Military veterans attending Indiana State University and Ivy Tech Community College-Wabash Valley will benefit from a new $79,000 grant from Operation Diploma, an initiative of the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University.

Indiana State opened a Veterans Resource Center in 2010 and the new grant will allow the university to launch a new learning community for student veterans. Two foundational studies classes will be offered exclusively to veterans in spring 2012.

“We’re proud of our record of service to student veterans. This grant will help make them feel more comfortable in the university classroom by being in a class with other students who have a similar background,” said John Beacon, vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications at Indiana State. “We appreciate the continued support of the Military Family Research Institute.”

The grant will also fund the continued operation of the Veterans Resource Center in Indiana State’s John T. Myers Technology Center. The resource center provides a place for student veterans to relax, study or find information about benefits.

The grant is part of more than $1 million the research institute awarded this year to 25 Indiana post-secondary institutions.

Ivy Tech’s portion of the grant will fund continued development of an area for veterans to gather and use resource materials, additional workshops and the veteran support coordinator’s salary. All initiatives are intended to help recruit, retain and graduate more student veterans.

“Ivy Tech is now in its second year of partnership with Indiana State and is pleased to have the opportunity to build on the momentum already started,” said Leah Allman, vice-chancellor of student affairs. “With our joint initiatives, we will be able to help our student veterans not only receive important types of assistance but also have the tools to identify any resources available in the Wabash Valley to help them complete a college education.”

Gary Busiere, veteran support coordinator at Ivy Tech-Wabash Valley, said the schools are providing a strong support network for student veterans at both campuses.

“All of our joint efforts, such as the soon-to-be-released Community Resource Booklet, statewide distribution of promotional materials and annual visits to military installations, will ensure that as many student veterans as possible are using their educational benefits to the fullest,” he said.

Michael Caress, veterans benefits coordinator at Indiana State, noted that ISU has an active Student Veterans Organizations that has also received grants from the Military Family Research Institute.

“We continue to look for ways to make veterans feel more comfortable and successful at the university through several activities funded by MFRI.”

During the recent spring semester, Ivy Tech-Wabash Valley served 328 student veterans while 245 veterans were enrolled at Indiana State.

Launched with a $5.8 million gift from Lilly Endowment Inc., Operation Diploma empowers Indiana’s post-secondary institutions and student veterans organizations to better serve student service members and veterans entering college for the first time, and those re-entering college after extended service or deployment.

Since 2009, Operation Diploma has awarded more than $2.4 million to Indiana colleges and universities, which have used the funds to create more effective and supportive services or expand them for these students. This year, institutions submitted competitive proposals for grants of up $100,000. In addition to Indiana State and Ivy Tech-Wabash Valley, the institute funded grants at 10 other Ivy Tech campuses, St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and nine additional college and university campuses around the state.

“This year’s proposals demonstrate that we are entering a new phase of campus recognition and support,” said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of Military Family Research Institute. “Schools are building on their successes to reach for even higher goals and attracting the attention of their neighbor and peer institutions in the process.”

More information about Operation Diploma is available online at

Contacts: Michael Caress, veterans benefits coordinator, Indiana State University, 812-237-2540 or; Gary Busiere, veteran support coordinator, Ivy Tech Community College-Wabash Valley,; Stacie Hitt, director, Operation Diploma, Purdue University, 765-494-9878,


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