New Center supports student veterans


The W. A. Franke College of Business’s commitment to veteran student success is evident in its new, college-specific Veteran Student Center, made possible by the generous donation of a business school alumnus and Vietnam veteran, Dale Butcher. The Veteran Student Center—one of the first of its kind in the country—works in conjunction with the primary Military and Veteran Student Center on campus to support student veterans and help them to earn degrees. 


A personalized approach

Veteran Student Center Coordinator Laurie Jordon, whose job is supported by this gift, meets with veteran business students as they transition from military to student life.  An Air Force veteran herself, Laurie understands the challenges these students face academically, socially, and professionally. She helps students maximize veteran benefits like priority admission, tutoring, adapting military skills to a business-focused résumé, and seeking internships.

“What I love most about my job is being creative and coming up with tailored programs to help student veterans achieve academic success,” she says. Current and future projects include a military leadership program, crisis intervention training, a moms’ group for single mothers, and a book sharing library.

Veteran students thrive

The Veteran Student Center officially opened its doors in spring 2014, and students are already reaping the benefits. Thomas Begay, an Army combat veteran who is majoring in management and marketing, was discouraged and ready to drop out of college after two years. He sought help from the Center and received the understanding and support he needed to get back on track.

“It is easier to go to another vet who has been through the process and can guide you,” Thomas says.

Michelle Hagan, an Air Force veteran and an economics major, struggled to begin school as a single mother of two, and she praises the university for helping her become situated right away with quick admission and student housing.

“Just the presence of the Center has helped so many students,” Michelle says. “Students appreciate another veteran to talk to, someone who understands them.”

A gift to veterans’ futures

In funding the Veteran Student Center, Dale Butcher, ’77 BSACC, and his wife Julie embody the alumni tradition of giving back to Northern Arizona University as they support the success of this respected student population.

Craig Van Slyke, dean of The W. A. Franke College of Business, notes that the success of the Center is important to him personally, and is grateful that it was made possible by Dale Butcher’s vision.

“I saw the challenges my father faced when he retired from the Army,” he says. “Helping our veterans lead successful civilian lives is a moral and ethical obligation.”

“It is easier to go to another vet who has been through the process and can guide you.” Thomas Begay, ’15 BS