History of The Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center
From 2000-2008 we had a “Veterans Walk-up Window” in the Office of the Registrar. We started with one veterans coordinator and one VA work study student and over those 8 years added an assistant veterans coordinator, a half time assistant position and a few more work study students.
Starting in 2006, the veteran population increased and the Student Veteran Organization (SVO) was started—and with university support, we moved into our first Veterans Center in July 2008—the first Veterans Center in the CSU system (23 campuses statewide). We had a stand-alone center for our veterans and military connected students that they could call their own. The Center had a lobby area, 3 workspaces, an office and our first lounge.
We held our very first Veterans Center open house for that space in September 2008, and thanks to the great support of our previous President, Steven Weber, our flag pole was installed for the very first time right outside the center. In 2009, SDSU opened the first Student Veterans House in the nation offering our military students an additional space to utilize for studying, networking, and for the SVO to conduct meetings and special events.
The Veterans Center rapidly outgrew its space mainly due to the continual increase of our military, veteran, and dependent population on campus. In October 2010 we moved to Student Services West Building—a beautiful location in the heart of the campus—near the Bookstore, which continued to demonstrate how important our military population is to San Diego State University. It was a much bigger space…more offices, a larger lobby…and we had a bigger “lounge” area, which was renamed by our veterans, “The Bunker”.
Also, about this time, we were chosen by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as one of the first three universities nationwide to host the Vet Success on Campus program with a VA Counselor on our team.
We received a generous gift from Ambassador Charles Hostler and his wife Chinyeh, to name our conference room—“The Ambassador Hostler Conference Room”.
We held that Veterans Center Grand Opening on November 4, 2010.
In April 2011, with a generous $1 million endowment from Joan and Art Barron (a Navy vet, SDSU alum and retired Time Warner executive), we hosted a renaming ceremony of our Veterans Center—and from that point on would be named and known as, “The Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center”.
In 2015, we moved again to accommodate more staff and increasing veterans support programs. This space was redesigned and renovated and is located next to the beautiful n Conrad Prebys Student Union.
Our new location for the Barron Veterans Center is double the size of our former space at about 4,000 square feet and serves as a one-stop shop for military connected students. The additional space accommodates the two Troops to Engineering Coordinators, the College of Extended Studies Military Veterans Services Representative, and the Military Liaison Officer. We have a large walk-in area with a lobby, spaces for our staff to assist our veterans and military connected-students, a public access space, a file room, seven offices, an even larger space for the Ambassador Hostler Conference Room, and a much larger “Bunker”, and now is about 3 times the size of the last one. This space allows a place for our veterans and military students to come in and hang out, talk, study, watch TV and relax.
We now have over 20 VA work study students working in the Center, at the Veterans House and at Student Disability Services.
Our flag pole has been moved yet again to its third location and the flag waves beautifully right by The Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center.
Our SDSU team who supports the military student population has grown exponentially over the last 15 years. Our current staff includes:
• Director, Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center
• Veterans Coordinator
• Military Liaison Officers
• Two Veterans Center Assistants
• Veterans Employment Specialist
• Academic Advisor for the Wounded Warrior Battalion West
• VA Vet Success on Campus Counselor
• College of Extended Studies Military Veterans Service Representative, two
• Troops to Engineering Coordinator and ESTEP Coordinator
• Director of Development (donors) for Military Programs
Our mission: On campus, and worldwide, we’re committed to supporting military, military veterans, military spouses, and dependent children in the areas of higher education in outreach/admission, GI Bill benefits, academic success, graduation, and a career. We exist to be the best in these areas in the eyes of our student-veterans, staff, alumni, and donors.