Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards joined the University in opening the new William A. Brookshire Military and Veterans Student Center on Wednesday.
The new center supports student veterans, active military, reservists, guardsmen and their dependents by focusing on increased services for military students.
LSU President F. King Alexander, LSU Vice President for Student Affairs Kurt Keppler, Brookshire family member Lori Garrison and Program Director Sachiko Cleveland were among those who accompanied Gov. Edwards in speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“We are all here because we love this state, this university and we love our veterans,” Edwards said.
Edwards emphasized that the new center could not be possible without the support of University alumnus William Brookshire. Brookshire graduated in 1961 with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. Edwards noted that there was no cut of the Department of Veterans Affairs in the executive budget proposal released on Jan. 22.
“It’s imperative that we do everything to help our veterans,” Edwards said.
The governor concluded his remarks by asking the audience to join in prayer with him for the veterans, state and nation.
The ceremony began at 10 a.m. with the welcome remarks and acknowledgement of guests from Keppler. After the ROTC’s presentation of the flag and the star-spangled banner, President Alexander took to the podium emphasizing the important need for an easily-accessible veterans’ student center on campus.
“It’s a one stop shop for all your needs right in the middle of campus so you can’t miss it,” Alexander said.
Alexander also noted that the University had no veterans center when he came to campus. Five years later, the new student center ranks as one of the finest in the nation, positioning the University to compete with regional peers in recruiting veteran students. He joked that the center was placed across the street from the LSU Paul M. Herbert Law Center in case any veteran runs into legal trouble.
Student Veterans of LSU president Mark Frank spoke briefly before the official ribbon-cutting. He recalled the words of advice Brookshire gave him, “work hard and pay your taxes.” Frank also spoke about the everlasting ties that develop in the military and how veterans are the cornerstone of any successful institution.
“This center will allow us to grow these ties with other veterans on campus,” Frank said.
The Brookshire Veterans Center is located on Veterans Drive, adjacent from Barnes & Noble at LSU. The 4,600-square-foot center includes a computer lab, meeting rooms and offices transforming how the University supports, recruits and retains veterans.
The center plans to host various scheduled events this semester intended to connect veterans to resources for success, campus life and other veteran students. The next scheduled event is Lunch & Learn on Feb. 2 at noon.