Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF dedicates Veterans Achievement Center

TAMPA — It's a safe zone for veterans.

The University of South Florida dedicated its new 3,000-square-foot Veterans Achievement Center on Thursday during a ceremony at the school's Tampa campus. The center is in the John and Grace Allen building in space adjacent to the USF Office of Veterans Services.

The center has a large-screen TV, comfortable chairs, a computer area, a counseling room, a microwave, a refrigerator, a conference room and a lounge area. The walls feature murals depicting historic uniforms from all branches of the military.

Larry Braue, a retired Army officer who is director of the Veterans Services office, said the space allows veterans to hang out with other veterans, sharing experiences and taking comfort from those who can most identify with them.

"It's a place where they can be themselves," he said.

About 1,700 veterans attend USF, out of a total enrollment of 47,000, according to Braue. That's more than double the number who attended the university in 2008.

About 1,300 of those veterans are using G.I. Bill benefits, which help with tuition, housing and book costs.

USF is one of the few universities in the nation with a standalone veterans department and is just one of a handful of schools that partner with the Pat Tillman veteran scholarship foundation. Tillman, who quit the National Football League to enlist in the Army, was killed in Afghanistan in 2004.

"We take care of one another," USF president Judy Genshaft told veterans who attended Thursday's ceremony. "You take care of us. We take care of you. … As student veterans, you have only begun to write your story. You enrich the lives of our students, our professors, our staff."

Genshaft noted that USF was ranked fifth among the country's most veteran-friendly schools by Military Times Edge magazine. Concord University, a small liberal arts college in West Virginia founded by Union and Confederate veterans of the Civil War, stands atop the list.

Tarpon Springs resident and Medal of Honor recipient Ronald Ray also attended the ceremony.

He recounted how he became a University of Tampa student after his service in Vietnam, later obtaining a master's degree at the University of Oklahoma.

He went on to serve as an assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and a special assistant to the U.S. secretary of commerce. Ray said it was his education that made the greatest impact on his life.

"That's why I'm successful today," he said. "Not because I was a soldier."

USF dedicates Veterans Achievement Center 08/30/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 30, 2012 9:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries


    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?



    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.