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SSI's $500,000 Gift Enables WCU to Name Veterans Center for the Weisensteins

Thanks to a $500,000 gift from Student Services, Inc. (SSI), West Chester University's Veterans Center will bear the names of outgoing president Greg Weisenstein and his wife, Sandra.

The announcement surprised the Weisensteins immediately prior to the Jan. 28 Council of Trustees meeting, where Council approved the naming of the Greg R. and Sandra L. Weisenstein Veterans Center.

President Weisenstein established WCU's Veterans Center out of his passionate commitment to assist current and former members of the armed forces in their transition back to civilian life. Opened in 2011 at 624 South High Street, it offers a space for student veterans to receive a variety of services from accessing GI Bill benefits and financial aid information to serving as a community center where student veterans enjoy fellowship and mutual support. The Weisensteins have made it their mission to support the University's student veterans by implementing campus programming, funding military scholarships, and increasing resources, including staff and facilities. SSI's endowed gift will provide permanent resources to support student veterans as they pursue their degrees.

Bernie Carrozza, chair of the board of directors of SSI and a former long-time member and chair of the Council of Trustees, who made the presentation, applauded "Greg's noteworthy and unwavering commitment to our veterans and ROTC. Because of Greg's consistent support and advocacy, we now enroll record numbers of veterans and have the largest ROTC membership of any university in this unit."

Programs for returning military veterans have grown significantly under Weisenstein's leadership. Now, 300 veterans attend WCU and members of the ROTC have grown from six to approximately 55. Most recently, Weisenstein arranged for an additional $20,000 to support scholarships for ROTC students and $10,000 for scholarships for returning veterans.

Lillian Morrison, Veterans Center coordinator, notes, "Dr. Weisenstein's leadership and advocacy of the Center's mission has unquestionably been the deciding factor in our development and continued progression. … While we have much work to do moving forward, the Center's infrastructure and foundation is now well-positioned to bring value-added services to our veteran students as well as foster external collaborations with our partners in the community. Dr. and Mrs. Weisenstein have played an extremely vital role in bringing us to this point and it is only befitting that their contributions be acknowledged and memorialized in this fashion. They will remain an integral part of our veteran family and will be sorely missed."

"Dr. Weisenstein is a true inspiration to student veterans here at West Chester and in higher education across the country," adds Sarah M. Tolley, president of WCU's Student Veterans Group. "Without his drive and determination, we would not have the Veterans Center, Troops to Teachers, ROTC's Dauntless Battalion, or the Student Veterans Group. He sees our potential. … I hope to one day be as much an innovator as Dr. Greg R. Weisenstein."

New signage will be unveiled at a ceremony on Monday, March 21.