Veterans on Purdue's Campus

Veterans

Before the GI Bill was established in 1944, college education was beyond reach for many veterans. Instead of pursuing higher education, many service members returned from war to hometown factory jobs and family farms. Once provided with a benefit to help pay for education, however, veterans flocked to college campuses.

In 1946, post WWII, more than 700 student veterans were among 11,000 students enrolled at Purdue. By 1949, the number of Purdue’s student veterans had climbed to more than 1,100. Purdue responded to the influx of veteran students by creating temporary housing and classrooms, and the University’s first student veteran organization—called DUNROAMIN—was formed. The name conveyed the idea that these students were “done roaming” the world, and a plaque commemorating the organization now resides outside the Veterans Success Center in the Purdue Memorial Union. 

Class of 1950

The class with the most veteran influence was the class of 1950, whose leadership provided seed funds for the Class of 1950 building, as well as the statue that resides within it. The statue depicts two typical students from the period—a male student veteran wearing a WWII bomber’s jacket and a female—chatting along a park bench. The building also houses a plaque providing the history of the GI Bill and its significance to the graduating class of 1950. The DUNROAMIN organization faded rapidly after the Korean War in 1953, and more than 50 years passed before another significant student veteran organization was formed. 

Members of the VSC and PAVE

Purdue Student Veterans Organization (PSVO)

With so many service members deployed to support the Global War on Terror and with the implementation of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Purdue again saw a significant increase in its student veteran population. Purdue student veteran Ryan Carlson decided in 2008 to start a Purdue Student Veterans Organization (PSVO). This organization quickly became a voice for student veterans to improve the campus culture for their fellow and future student veterans.

In the 2010-2011 academic year, PSVO and the Purdue Student Government (PSG) recognized a need for more support for student veterans and petitioned the Provost’s Office to address this need. A University committee traveled to Indiana University and the University of Illinois for benchmarking and spoke with other institutions with similar positions. In the spring of 2012, a Student Veterans Advisory Team was convened to hire the University’s first Coordinator for Military Veteran and Nontraditional Student Programs. Jamie Richards was hired for this position in October of 2012. 

Veterans Success Center

Veterans Success Center

Purdue’s first first-stop-shop for veterans and military students opened on Sept. 11, 2014. It comprises a lounge in the Purdue Memorial Union, Rooms 284 and 286, where students can receive guidance on and access to military-related education benefits, opportunities for personal and professional development, and camaraderie with their peers. The space houses both Veterans Certifying Officials, the Program Coordinator, VA Work-study students, the offices for the PSVO, and study and lounge space for all veteran and military students, as well as their family members.  

Veterans Success Center
Purdue Memorial Union
Rooms 284/286
101 N Grant St.
West Lafayette, IN 47906
765-494-7638 (Voice)
765-494-1545 (Fax)
dogtags@purdue.edu

Veterans Success Center, PMU 284/286, 101 N. Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7638, dogtags@purdue.edu

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