Chez Veterans Center – Illinois Advancement
Men standing in front of the Chez Veteran's Center in uniform holding flags.

2023 Update

Chez Veterans Center

Celebrating the impact of your generosity

On behalf of the Chez Veterans Center (CVC), I would like to extend my profound gratitude for your unwavering commitment that fuels the CVC’s mission to serve our nation’s heroes. Your generosity stands as the bedrock of our accomplishments, and we are excited to share the impact we have achieved together.

Thanks to your invaluable contributions, we have been able to provide world-class services to more than 650 military-connected students. Your ongoing dedication ensures that these students receive the necessary care and opportunities to realize their aspirations. Your support has helped them find their footing, forge vital connections and build brighter futures.

Your generosity is transforming lives, and we cannot express our gratitude enough for your partnership. Together, we are making a lasting difference in the lives of those who have made immense sacrifices for our country. Thank you for being our heroes.

Andrew Bender
Signature Andrew Bender
Director of Operations and Services
Chez Veterans Center

2023 By the Numbers

Thanks to your support during this past fiscal year, the Chez Veterans Center continues to be transformed, resulting in:

Icon$519,637 Dollars Raised

Icon115 Donors

Icon164 Gifts

Icon652 Military-connected students supported by CVC

Icon65 Hours of behavioral Health Services

Icon14 Residents

2023 Highlights

Your support has helped us continue to elevate the values that make Illinois distinctive: a sense of boundless aspiration, collaboration, and a global perspective.

Two people smiling across from each other in a common area.

Building Community Among Student Veterans

Residents of the Chez Veterans Center consistently affirm that the community and relationships they form contribute widely to their success. For many of these residents, living in the Center would not be possible without the generous support of donors. CVC resident Jay Estes noted, “residing in a community with peers who share similar experiences has been invaluable. We face common challenges and uncertainties, and the CVC has become a platform for discussing and addressing these issues. This has eased anxieties associated with college life and fostered cultural exchange and understanding through its diversity.” For Jay, the scholarship he received to live at the center eased the financial burden, allowing him to focus on his studies. He said, “It’s a humbling experience to know that there are others rooting for me and providing me with the best chance to be successful. This motivation drives me to excel academically, take on leadership roles and give back to the community.”

Susan and Michael Haney standing side by side, smiling.

The Impact of the Ronald D. Paulsgrove Student Support Fund

Susan and Michael Haney established the Ronald D. Pauls grove Student Support Fund as a way to help with the unique needs of veterans who are transitioning to civilian and student life. Established in memory of Susan’s cousin, the fund provides support beyond the cost of tuition. Noting the impact of the fund, CVC Director of Operations and Services Andy Bender said, “to extend those gifts and those benefits beyond just tuition really gets to the heart of what our students need. It’s going to have a lasting impact on a lot of our students and help them achieve their academic goals.” In its inaugural year, the scholarship was awarded to two students. Recipient Jacob Means was able to participate in extracurricular activities and focus on his academic work. Scholarship support such as the Ronald D. Paulsgrove Fund not only alleviates the financial burdens for students pursuing full-time study, but it also instills confidence in their ability to persevere.

Students watching and listening to a speaker with a microphone.

Warrior-Scholar Project Creates Transformative Experiences

The Chez Veterans Center partnered with the Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) to provide a fully-funded, two-week college preparatory program for enlisted service members. Enrolling 15 veterans and six fellows in July 2023, the program offered skills such as a STEM-based curriculum, strategic reading and writing instruction, note-taking techniques, test preparation, syllabus analysis and orientation to campus resources taught by university faculty and instructors. Mike Lanpolsaen, Military and Veteran Organization Outreach Manager for the Warrior-Scholar Project, has witnessed hundreds of veterans gain transformative, life-changing experiences in WSP. Noting that the Chez Veterans Center embodies the “gold standard” in partnerships with WSP, he cited that 92% of WSP alumni have gotten a degree (or are about to graduate), as compared to the 78% graduation rate of student veterans nationwide. Lanpolsaen said, “it boosts their confidence about applying to schools—not just applying, but to complete a rigorous four-year degree program.” Learn more about the Warrior-Scholar Project.

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© 2023 University of Illinois Board of Trustees