A $250,000 gift given to Colorado State University by an alumnus and military veteran will support student veterans who have been injured while in service to the country.
The New Start Repp Distinguished Veterans Fund was established by a gift from Dennis Repp, a California industrialist who is a veteran himself and a 50-year CSU alumnus.
The fund will provide direct support, including adaptive devices if needed, for personal and educational use and guidance for 10 to 12 student veterans each year.
“This is one small way of making things better for those who have served us,” Repp said. “These people, on their own, have gotten into CSU, and the New Start program is an opportunity to provide assistance to them while they’re getting their degrees. This is one more tool CSU has to serve veterans, and there is no group more deserving.”
The New Start Program at CSU has developed services and support for injured veterans who served our country in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and other military assignments around the globe.
Located in CSU’s nationally ranked Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Applied Human Sciences, the New Start program builds on the Center for Community Partnership’s nearly 30 years of nationally recognized outreach related to the design, implementation and evaluation of campus- and community-based services. These services result in college graduation, employment and positive community outcomes for individuals with complex needs resulting from brain injury, physical trauma or other life-altering conditions.
The program is proving to be highly successful in helping veterans with serious and life-impacting injuries to succeed in college, find employment and re-enter civilian life with pride and a sense of accomplishment.
“With traumatic brain injury being the signature injury of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of young men and women are finishing their military service and coming home to communities across the nation to pursue college and ultimately careers, but they experience significant challenges related to the residual effects of TBI,” said Cathy Schelly, director of the Center for Community Partnerships and assistant professor of Occupational Therapy at CSU. “For those veterans who have sustained a serious injury, the New Start for Repp Distinguished Veterans program is making it possible for these warriors – truly heroes – to get a new start on life after serving our country. With the right support in place, these distinguished veterans will achieve success in college and in life with gratitude to Dennis Repp for his generous gift.”
New Start is one of the initiatives CSU has developed to serve veterans in the community and the nearly 900 student veterans enrolled at CSU.
CSU is one of the nation’s top military-friendly schools, committed to helping our nation’s military veterans meet their educational and personal goals. In 2011, G.I. Jobs magazine named CSU a top military-friendly school based on recruitment and retention of student veterans, academic accreditations, benefits to student veterans such as on-campus veterans programs, and credit for service and military spouse programs.
In addition to the New Start program, CSU has established other funds to help student veterans meet their post-service goals.
• The CSU Student Veterans Organization will hold a Memorial Day 5K Run/Walk Sunday, May 27, at 9:15 a.m. The Memorial Day 5K Run/Walk supports student veteran textbook awards and the Student Veteran of the Year Award. The event will begin at Hughes Stadium and end at the Veterans Plaza at the south side of Spring Canyon Community Park and West Horsetooth Road. For more information and to register, visit www.active.com.
• The CSU Veterans Scholarship provides financial assistance to honorably discharged veterans living with disabilities related to their military service.
• The CSU Student Veterans Organization holds an annual Veterans Day 5K Run/Walk to support the CSU Veterans Scholarship Fund.
• CSU and Veterans Green Jobs announced on Veterans Day 2009 the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to create the Veterans Green Jobs Education Initiative at the university. CSU was the first four-year university to partner with Veterans Green Jobs to provide “green” educational opportunities to veterans.
Other programs at CSU that support military veterans follow.
• In January 2012, CSU announced that, as recognition of service and sacrifice of U.S. military veterans, the university will offer free admission to selected university performing arts and athletics events for veterans who received a disability rating of 50 percent or more from the Veterans Administration.
• The university’s Office of Adult Learner and Veteran Services provides services focused on education, leadership and involvement. Veterans are educated about the transition to academics and connected to critical resources. Through the office, they are encouraged to continue to develop leadership qualities by serving as peer mentors for other vets as well as being a voice for student vets on university committees. The office offers opportunities for veterans to get involved outside the classroom through the student veterans organization and study groups. ALVS facilitates an environment conducive to learning and helps with questions and concerns pertaining to G.I. Bill benefits.
• Adult Learner and Veteran Services was awarded the Success for Veterans Award Grant in 2009 which was used to establish a National Honor Society for veterans. CSU also was awarded, for the second year, a grant from the Department of Defense for Military Youth camps which are held at the Pingree Park Mountain campus to introduce campers to critical life and coping skills through outdoor adventures. Adult Learner and Veteran Services recently partnered with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to provide enhanced services in career exploration, planning and placement for veterans through an on-site, part-time Veteran Representative. The university also has been recognized by the Employers Support for the Guard and Reserve (a Department of Defense agency) for supporting education to student veterans.
• In addition to benefits CSU traditionally has offered its veterans, Colorado State, partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program, began offering in fall 2011 full awards – including tuition, fees, and generous housing and books stipends – to qualifying non-resident U.S. military veterans and their designated dependents.
To learn more about veterans services at CSU, visit www.veterans.colostate.edu.