“You get out of the military and you think, ‘OK, how hard could college be?’ I’ve been deployed. I’ve been to war.
“I had a hard time transitioning from military to college life. I ended up dropping out [of the U. of I.] and worked back at my base full-time. Went somewhere where it was comfortable. After a year, I realized I still wanted more and I wanted to obtain that degree. And then I got extremely involved in the Illini Veterans, because it provided that sense of camaraderie and community that I was missing when I got out of the military.
“I always wanted to come to the U. of I. When I left, I felt defeated. I wanted to tell myself, ‘I could finish college. And I did it on my own.’ So I came back.”
- Illinois graduate student, veteran and current member of the Illinois National Guard Patricia Starks, who has been deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. She’s the president of the Illini Veterans, a registered student organization for and by veterans.
As of Fall 2015, Illinois is home to 315 student veterans. It’s also the home of the new Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education. The $15 million facility is a national resource that provides individualized and comprehensive support to student veterans with disabilities and their families.
For more information on the Center, click here. You can also follow the Center on Twitter, Facebook and by using the hashtag #CHWVHE.