“The Land of the Free Foundation’s support to Cal Poly Pomona’s Veterans Resource Center gives
every veteran and military family member a chance to succeed both academically and personally.
Such support is vital towards ensuring that our military affiliated students continued to be
valued as leaders that are model citizens who use their knowledge and skills for the welfare of
the public good.”
Director, Veterans Resourec Center
Cal Poly Pomona
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) is one of only two polytechnic universities of the 23 California State University campuses and among just 11 in the nation. The classical meaning of polytechnic is “skilled in many arts.” At Cal Poly Pomona, it means more than that. Here, we weave hands-on learning experiences into our academic programs, bringing textbook concepts to life in a technologically advanced and multicultural world. This focus on actions and solutions turns our students into skilled professionals, integrative problem solvers, and well-balanced leaders.
Cal Poly Pomona is grateful for the contributions made by members of the United States Armed Forces, both at home and abroad. We celebrate the benefits that current and former service members bring to the university and recognize that veterans merit our full support at every stage of their academic journey. As a military-friendly campus, we offer a dynamic and supportive community and hands-on opportunities for academic and personal growth to student veterans transitioning to the next stage of their lives.
The Veterans Resource Center
The Veterans Resource Center (VRC) is the central hub of information, support, and community for student veterans on a campus. Military Advanced Education, Victory Media, and U.S. News & World Report list Cal Poly Pomona as a top military-friendly school. The University prioritizes admission for veterans and active military personnel in recognition of their services to the country. Five core values underlie everything the Center undertakes:
- Respect: Equal concern and professionalism to all
- Excellence: Embracing high standards
- Commitment: Dedication to the mission even in the face of adversity
- Integrity: Being principled and conscientious
- Teamwork: Communicate, collaborate, appreciate
The Center is staffed by veterans and family members of veterans whose experiences have given them direct understanding of the challenge’s former military personnel face in their quest for a degree. Peer mentors and ambassadors are embedded in all eight Cal Poly Pomona academic colleges where they reach out to veterans, faculty, and administrators and organize events. The Center collaborates closely with veteran liaisons in University divisions pertinent to students including Admissions, Financial Aid, Career Center, Registrar’s Office, the Disability Resource Center, and Student Health Services. It links veterans with specific concerns to 16+ outside organizations from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to American Corporate Partners
Since 2012, the year the VRC was founded, 1,123 veterans have graduated from the university. Over 530 self-identified student veterans attended Cal Poly Pomona during 2018-19 academic year. Over the last seven years, the Center has received more than 30,000 visits from veterans and their families and has sponsored hundreds of veteran-supporting events, workshops, referrals to services, and fundamental improvements to the lives of former service members.
Veteran student life experiences, and often their perspectives, can be very different from those of the general student population and sometimes of the faculty as well. The transition back into civilian life, and especially into a higher education environment, can take many months or years.
What is sometimes forgotten is that returning student veterans are faced with several transitions undertaken either simultaneously or within a relatively short period of time. They transition to the civilian world, to schooling, and to a job. All these transitions are potentially difficult. In most cases, they leave the military ill-informed about the civilian world and with little or no guidance regarding finding employment or deciding where and what to study if they chose to work toward a degree. Former military, for example, may be fully aware of their talents and interests but have difficulty relating those to meaningful education choices when faced with the complexity of the higher education world. Similarly, many veterans understand how their military training translates into valuable job skills, but employers frequently do not.
It is therefore important for colleges to support veterans during these multiple transitions. Dedicated veteran services, events, spaces, and systematic efforts to develop a positive climate for veterans on campus, greatly assist military student integration into both the campus community and the society at large.
As the veteran population continues to grow on campus, so does the need to provide on-going services to support student veterans moving toward degree completion. Funds from the Land of the Free Foundation allow us to continue offering high-impact programs that address current student veteran needs.