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                        A FOREVER ANNOUNCEMENT
      about the Veterans Education Program BY SCOTT MOORE
  In 2011, a veteran and triple-Purple Heart recipient requested a meeting with Lyn- nette Zelezny and myself. At the time, Lynnette was Dean of Continuing and Global Education and I served as her As- sociate Dean. The veteran disclosed that he wanted to pursue higher education, but didn’t know where to start, or if he even would be able to succeed in the classroom.
We listened to his stories of heroism and bravery, which included descriptions of his sustained combat injuries and the lingering impact of both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. Almost ironical- ly, the only fear this combat veteran seem to have was whether he would excel in college life.
A quick scan of our campus revealed incredible advo- cates at Fresno State, including a Veterans Service Cen- ter, two student-lead veteran organizations, and a campus recognized as a “Military Friendly” institution of higher education. But that wasn’t what our veteran was asking; he was asking how he could succeed at Fresno State.
We started doing research and found several challenges. Many veterans start and stop their educational career throughout their active duty. When they arrive at Fresno State, they may have taken the wrong courses, missed re- quired courses or had poor prior performance that would hold them back from admission.
SO THIS IS WHERE OUR WORK BEGAN. Initially, we de- signed a program that introduced employer skills and study skills with- out academic credit. But our veterans told us they wanted to attend the university, and academic instruction was key. We quickly revised our program to offer what is internally referred to as the CSU “Golden Four” courses: English Composition, Speech, Critical Thinking and Quantita- tive Reasoning. Later, we added a general student success course that taught skills useful for university students such as library usage, time management, and study skills. These courses would be taught by some of Fresno State’s best faculty.
We made an agreement with campus offices that our students could demonstrate their readiness for admission in a different, non-traditional way. If our students did well in Fresno State courses taught by Fresno State faculty, in a Fresno State classroom, then academically they had the needed capacity to be successful at Fresno State.
Now the question was how to pay for the program. I insisted on one prin- cipal very early on: we would not be a program that preyed on a student’s military benefits. We knew there were already far too many institutions that take advantage of veteran educational benefits. Instead of drawing on VA benefits, we would design a program that had no cost to the stu- dent; and we believed strongly that our community would support our veterans.
And we have come so very far in just a short time. So today, I am pleased to share with you some good news. Because of the generosity of our donor base, we are now securing long-term strategies to ensure a sustainable future for Fresno State student veterans for years and years to come. We have just established The Veterans Education Program Endowments, a series of funds through the Fresno State Foundation that invest philanthropic contributions and ensure financial support for this very important program forever!
 4 California State University, F R E S N O

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