Syracuse University’s relationship with veterans, explained

Daily Orange File Photo

Members of the ROTC program at Syracuse University hold the American flag during the Veteran's Day Ceremony in 2012.

Syracuse University has held a deep relationship with the veteran community throughout its years as a higher education institution. Since the end of World War II that brought millions of veterans back to the United States, SU has actively recruited them to the university. SU had the highest numbers in veteran enrollment statewide and placed 17th nationwide in 1947, according to SU’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families website.

Here is a closer look at SU’s relationship with the veteran community.

Early commitment

After World War II, then-Chancellor William Pearson Tolley announced a “uniform admissions program,” which ensured returning veterans would be admitted. On January 12, 1946, almost 9,500 veterans were admitted to the university, nearly doubling the size of the student body overnight.

The university has launched programs for veterans one after another, such as part-time classes at University College and the Defense Comptrollership Program (DCP) in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.

Veterans TimelineEmma Comtois | Senior Design Editor

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

In 2007, Whitman launched the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), a program aimed toward teaching entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with service-related disabilities.

The program has grown to 10 institutions across the U.S., including Texas A&M University and Cornell University. More than 1,300 veterans have graduated from the program, according to the EBV website.

The EBV program extends to female veterans and their spouses and partners through EBV-Families and military family members through V-WISE. An online training program, Operation Endure & Grow, was also created for National Guard and Reserve members and their families.

Institute for Veterans and Military Families

In 2011, SU launched the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), with JPMorgan Chase & Co. as a founding partner. Mike Haynie, vice chancellor for veteran and military affairs and founder of IVMF, said in an interview with The Daily Orange that he decided to create the institution because there wasn’t  an interdisciplinary academic institute focused on veterans and their families anywhere else in the U.S.

The institution serves as a “national center” to assist the post-service lives of service members, veterans and their families on social, economic and wellness issues, according to its website. It provides programs related to small business, career preparation and employment.

Veteran-focused medical school

SU is looking into the creation of a veteran-focused medical school. As part of the Academic Strategic Plan within Chancellor Kent Syverud’s Fast Forward Syracuse initiative, the medical school would accept 40 to 60 undergraduates who would receive tuition-free education. In exchange they’ll have to commit to working at Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals across the nation upon graduation.

The idea is reflected in two goals that Syverud outlined during his inauguration speech in April 2014: to enhance the undergraduate experience and to restore SU as the best place for veterans to gain a college education.

veterans explainer 2Chloe Meister | Senior Design Editor

Tripp Umbach, an economic impact research firm, estimated in a 107-page report to Syverud that the medical school could bring $140 million annually in a total economic impact to New York state in 2020, when the medical school opens. That amount increases to $520 million in 2025 and $800 million in 2030, according to the report. The medical school could generate 950 jobs by 2020; 3,500 jobs by 2025; and 5,200 jobs by 2030, according to the report.

Despite potential benefits, some faculty members have expressed concerns on how the veteran-focused medical school would affect other SU resources. For example, faculty pointed out that funding for the medical school will be taken from other campus activities to cover the costs of the medical school, or that bonds will be used to cover the cost, which would contribute to the university’s debt.

National Veterans Resource Complex

The university is also working to establish a National Veterans Resource Complex, which would help to “solidify” central New York as the “hub” of research and programming on veterans and military affairs.

According to a 107-page report to Syverud, the NVRC would 1) be a joint-effort between public and private sectors; 2) generate $300 million in regional economic impact; 3) produce 300 high-paying jobs; and 4) create about 7,000 jobs indirectly. In June, SU chose SHoP Architects to design the complex.

nvrc2Courtesy of Syracuse University

The NVRC would be built on the western portion of Waverly Avenue near the SU campus, and is tentatively set to be completed by spring 2019. The total cost is estimated at $62.5 million. The complex will have classrooms, a conference center and an auditorium. In addition, the NVRC is expected to build a gallery space showing the university’s service to veterans over the years.

The Daily Orange will continue to update this Explainer as new information about Syracuse University’s relationship with the veteran community is released.


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