Feature Stories 2024: Donors help create a community space for military-affiliated students

UMassD donor and students
(left to right) Student veteran Javier Villanueva '25, donor Janice Reynolds '82, and student veteran James Miceli '24 at the Veterans’ Resource Center grand opening.
Feature Stories 2024: Donors help create a community space for military-affiliated students
Donors help create a community space for military-affiliated students

UMass Dartmouth debuts new Veterans' Resource Center.

Jan Reynolds ’82 holds a profound respect for our country’s veterans. Inspired by the desire to honor her father, a veteran and UMass Dartmouth alum, and to give back to those who served, Reynolds and her family were lead supporters in the creation of a Veterans Resource Center for student veterans at UMass Dartmouth.

This spring, the Veterans’ Resource Center opened as an essential gathering place for military-affiliated students searching for a community of individuals with similar experiences and challenges. This resource hub will provide the support they need to fulfill their academic aspirations and address their unique needs. UMass Dartmouth was awarded a gold designation on the 2023-2024 Military Friendly® School List, based on leading practices, outcomes, and effective programs for student veterans.

Reynolds applauded the center for its intent to help veteran students with their unique needs and special requests. This space is near and dear to her heart since her father, Armand Houde ’82, was a veteran and faced his own set of challenges when returning to civilian life.

“When you join the military, you give up your entire life,” Reynolds persisted, directly addressing the student veterans in the room. “You give up your families, spouses, children, and friends to be told what to do, when to do it, and you have no input. You do that so I can have independence.”

“I am so grateful for the investment that donors have made in the Veterans’ Resource Center,” said James Miceli ’24, a student veteran assistant. “The center creates a space and opportunity for veterans who might pull away to come to campus, interact, and find a purpose at UMass Dartmouth.”

“Having a dedicated space for our student veterans is like finding a home away from home,” said Javier Villanueva ’25, a veterans assistant with the Student Veterans’ Association. He hopes the new center will encourage student veterans to ask more questions about support services and make new friends with similar life experiences. “It’s a safe haven where we can connect with others, where we can grow, learn, and celebrate our achievements. The Veterans’ Resource Center is the heart of our community."