COLUMBIA — Among a host of activities planned for Veterans Day this year, the MU Veterans Center will celebrate the unveiling of its new home.
The center acts as a “one-stop shop” to help veterans with any issues they might encounter so that they don’t have to run to different offices all over town, said center Director Carol Fleisher. The center will help any veteran — regardless of whether that person is associated with the university — plan for their deployments and their eventual return to work or school, as well as finding health care, counseling services and employment.
“If they’re a veteran, they’re welcome here," Fleisher said.
The center moved in June from its previous location in Lafferre Hall at MU to a more spacious office in Memorial Union, said Dawn Copeland, the center's student services adviser. Copeland said the center's original office space covered 400 square feet while the new space covers 800 square feet.
“It’s more centrally located to other classroom buildings than Lafferre is,” Copeland said. She said this makes it easier for veteran students to access the center and utilize its services.
Fleisher and Copeland said the larger space allows the center to better accommodate both students and university employees who are veterans. The center serves about 800 employees of the university and 500 student veterans and their dependents, Fleisher said.
The center now has three rooms as opposed to one, which allows for more privacy, said Fleisher. In addition, the new center features a television, computers, couches, a microwave and fridge that allow students to make themselves comfortable and hang out there, said Copeland.
“They can come and relax,” Copeland said.
The center is proving to be a very popular place for people to come and hang out, said Fleisher. She said there are sometimes 20 to 25 people in the office at once.
The grand opening will feature several events, beginning with a reception and the unveiling of the video-based Missouri Veterans History Project at 1 p.m. in Memorial Union's Stotler Lounge.
Chancellor Brady Deaton will give his Veterans Day address at the event.
The center will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Deaton will cut the ribbon for the grand opening and tours of the new office space will be offered, Fleisher said.
Many state and local officials are expected to attend the ceremony including U.S. Rep. Sam Graves; state Reps. Jason Kander, Chris Kelly, Mary Still, Jill Schupp and Steven Webber; Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid; and representatives from U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s office, said Copeland.
For more information on events occurring throughout Columbia on Veterans Day, see the Missourian’s Veterans Day calendar.