Pictured: Gene Westmoreland, a U.S. Air Force veteran and representative from the New York City Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, presented the Statement of Support to NYIT President Hank Foley, Ph.D. New York State assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal is seated to his right.
NYIT celebrated the opening of new lounges for its veteran students at NYIT-New York City (Manhattan) and NYIT-Long Island (Old Westbury, N.Y.) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the New York City campus on September 14. New York State assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal read a proclamation praising the accomplishments of the Student Veterans Organization (SVO) over the past year.
“SVO is an invaluable part of the NYIT community. The fact that veterans, their service, their dedication, and their lives are of interest to such a well-recognized institution…I applaud all of you,” said Rosenthal, who represents District 67, which includes NYIT-New York City.
Also in attendance were representatives from the New York City Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), including U.S. Air Force veteran Gene Westmoreland who presented a Statement of Support to NYIT President Hank Foley, Ph.D., which he signed.
“We do value your service, we value your academic accomplishments, we value your aspirations, and we want to be there for you,” said President Foley, who cited recent initiatives such as providing unlimited Yellow Ribbon funding, the planned hiring of a full-time director of military and veterans’ affairs, and the first-ever Veterans Recognition Gala, which was held in May.
The lounge in Manhattan is dedicated to U.S. Air Force veteran Steven Donohue (B.F.A. ’16), who approached NYIT administrators when he was an undergraduate with ideas on how to improve the student veteran experience. “When I arrived at NYIT in 2014, I really looked for people that were veterans because when you’re transitioning, the hardest thing to do is feel normal,” he said. “I could only come across opinions about our lack of veteran programs, but I found people who cared enough to listen. I have to commend NYIT for changing the future of veteran organizations and creating the foundations for other institutions in this great state to follow.”
NYIT student veterans in attendance included SVO President Randall O’Shea, Director of Veterans Community Outreach Nigel Casanova, Chief of Operations for Student Veteran Affairs C. Daniel Kennelly, and SVO member Joseph McShan.
The veteran lounge in Manhattan is located in 26 W. 61st Street in room 021, and the veteran lounge on the Long Island campus is located in the Student Activity Center, room 105. The lounges are accessible with a student veteran’s ID.
By Melissa Lee