News @ the Beach

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley and Others Say “Thank You” to Veterans at Celebration

For b-roll of the event click here

LONG BEACH, Calif. (November 10, 2015) — California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) President Jane Close Conoley today hosted an on campus Veterans Day Celebration. She was joined by Long Beach City College (LBCC) President Eloy Ortiz Oakley and others who expressed their gratitude for the service of the more than 1,150 veteran students who are enrolled at the two institutions. The ceremony began with the ROTC Color Guard and the national anthem performed by the University Choir.

“We are proud to support the more than 550 student veterans on campus,” said Conoley. “We are grateful for their willingness to serve our country and privileged to help them transition to student life so they may achieve their educational goals.”

Wendy Lewis, a student veteran attending CSULB and Associated Student body treasurer, talked about how much the university has supported her as a student veteran.

“It’s very important that veterans feel supported and this university goes above and beyond. Women veterans can be so underrated, but here there’s countless amazing professors that show us that they really are here for our success. Thank you for making me proud of who I am,” said an emotional Lewis. “Thank you for letting me tell my story. CSULB has done so much. It’s something special. It’s not only an ally but a friend.”

Keynote speaker was David Joseph, creator of Welcome Home training project and expert on why saying “thank you” to veterans is important.

“Before they were here they were someone else,” said Joseph. “Often the most difficult thing is taking off that uniform because you lose part of who you are. Remember the vets among us have had an experience we don’t see, and the challenge of readjusting is not simple. That’s important for schools like this who have gotten it right – a place that has already thought through what their needs will be and value the perseverance that I see every day in the student veterans that come to see me. Thank you to the vets here and everywhere for what you were willing to do for us.”

Other speakers included Oakley and Marshall Thomas, director of Veterans Services at CSULB, who emphasized how special this day has become on the CSULB campus

Towards the end of the ceremony the two presidents participated in a ceremonial signing with Robert McKendrick, director of the Los Angeles regional office of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to renew their shared partnership with the VA for providing counseling for veterans at both campuses.

A couple of ways the campus assists veterans is through its VET NET Ally seminars, which helps create a welcoming and supportive environment for military service members and veterans who study at CSULB; and Counseling and Psychological Services, which provides assistance to not only veterans, but to their children who are enrolled students at CSULB as well.