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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Newly remodeled VRSC hosts dedication, opening ceremony

Veterans+Covearge
FILE
Veterans Covearge

The Don & Ellie Knauss Veteran Resource & Support Center, or VRSC, hosted the namesakes, Don and Ellie Knauss, and other guests of honor for a ribbon cutting ceremony and dedication for the opening of the center’s new location on Monday, June 14.
The ceremony also included a reception and guided tours of the newly opened facility. Previously located in the lower level of the Memorial Student Center, or MSC, the veteran facility can now be found in suite 1500.
The center serves as the higher education destination for student veterans and was designed by veterans with the goal of creating a space for a smooth transition from their military service to student life. The center will house a library, student kitchen and lounge for student veterans to use as well as a space for offices for student support.
VRSC was established in 2012 with a staff of two, supporting 600 student veterans. The number of student veterans on campus has since grown exponentially to over 4,000, according to Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp.
The director of the VRSC, Col. Gerald “Jerry” Smith, said A&M was the first university system in the state of Texas and continues to be one of the only in the nation to have a dedicated student veterans’ office at the system level.
“We exist here in the VRSC to serve well those who have served in order to maximize their leadership potential for future service to our state, nation and world,” Smith said. “The team here serves as a national example of how to break down silos and use innovative collaboration to help veterans transition from the military to our Aggie family.”
University President Kathy Banks shared her support of student veterans, the opportunities for them at the university and her appreciation of the Knauss family’s donation. Banks was previously dean of the College of Engineering, which had the highest enrollment of student veterans on campus.
“[The center] is a way for us to express our gratitude to those who keep our nation safe and secure,” Banks said.
The Knauss family has created multiple endowed scholarships, 28 of which are for student veterans and their families, and has matched 20 other university scholarships. Ellie Knauss said it was easy for them to want to provide more support for these students after forming relationships with the staff and student veterans.
“It’s because of how you make it easy for us to support veterans and we jumped on that as fast as we can,” Ellie said. “We thank you for the opportunity to support these young brave men and women who have survived.”
Don Knauss, who previously served as an officer in the Marine Corps, said the family wanted to support veterans and could not find a better university that supported the student veteran population more than A&M.
Don reflected on a quote that Jackie Robinson had on this grave marker, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” He said this drove their decision to invest in the future of veterans at the university.
“This investment is all about making sure the veterans who come to this university can have that kind of impact for years to come,” Don said.
The center will have a wall dedicated to the Robinson quote as a reminder of the mission and dedication of the selfless service of the Krauss family.

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