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New office to support student veterans

As part of its annual Veterans Day celebration, photos from the Veterans and Military Photo Project will be on display in the Center for the Arts atrium. The exhibit later is displayed at various sites on campus, including the Capen Hall lobby, site of an exhibit last year. Shown here with the exhibit is UB staff member and Air Force veteran James Bowman. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi


Published October 31, 2013

It’s not easy to pick out a military veteran among the thousands of students walking around UB’s three campuses.

With the troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans have been entering high education, including UB, at increasing rates. UB estimates that several hundred students currently on campus have either recently served or continue to serve in the armed forces while studying at the university. About 400 are receiving veterans’ benefits.

But these are not your traditional 18-to-22-year-old college students. As Dan Ryan, who heads UB’s new Veteran Services Office, puts it: “They’re not interested in the world’s largest banana split.”

The Office of Student Affairs opened the Veteran Services Office this semester to celebrate the accomplishments of student veterans and provide access to the services they need to help them succeed at UB. The office is located in 101 Allen Hall, South Campus. A grand opening and open house will take place at 1 p.m. on Nov. 7.

The office serves as a central point of contact and referral for veterans looking for information and services, says Ryan, who will continue to serve as director of off-campus student services.

”The mission of the department will be to ease the transition of veterans and help them balance college life with their military, career, family and personal goals,” he explains. “UB’s Veteran Services Office will be a comfortable place where student veterans can get support on veterans’ benefits, academic policies and on- and off-campus resources to meet their unique needs.”

In his new role, Ryan also leads a Veteran Services Committee that includes representatives from UB’s offices of Veteran Affairs, which handles veterans’ benefits; Academic Advising; Financial Aid; Admissions; Campus Living; Orientation, Transition & Parent Programs; Wellness Education Services; Counseling Services; Accessibility Resources; Career Services; Special Events; and Student Life, as well as interested representatives from other decanal units.

He also is convening an advisory panel for students that will assist in the assessment and planning of services for student veterans.

The Veteran Services Committee has been busy planning UB’s annual Veterans Day celebration, to begin at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 with a flag-raising ceremony at the Coventry Circle flagpole in front of Alumni Arena on the North Campus. The ceremony will feature the University Police color guard and a performance of the national anthem by UB’s Thunder of the East marching band.

Following the flag-raising, participants will move into the Center for the Arts atrium for a program. Speaking will be Barbara Ricotta, associate vice president for student affairs; Donald Herzog, director of sponsored projects services, representing the U.S. Army; student Dale Gump, representing the U.S. Navy; and Col. Robert G. Kilgore, vice commander of the 107th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard, representing the U.S Air Force.

A veterans’ photo exhibit also will be on display in the CFA atrium during the program. The photos later will be displayed throughout the year at various sites on campus.

For more information about the Veteran Services Office, contact Ryan at 829-3536 or