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DU Increases Commitment to Veterans

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Justin Beach

Jon Stone

Media Relations Manager

Jon Stone

University honors those who serve our country

News  •
Pioneer Symposium

On the same day the nation paused to honor veterans of the armed forces, the University of Denver announced plans to increase its financial commitment to those who have served the country through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

“We need our veterans to be thoroughly educated,” said DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp while announcing the doubling of resources to the program.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers tuition and fees for veterans attending an in-state and public institution. Universities that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program make additional funds available for veterans attending an out-of-state or private university. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs matches all contributions made by an institution.

“We double our resources and the government doubles its commitment to these veterans,” Chopp said. “We hope that we will provide our veterans more resources and also attract more veterans to the University of Denver.”

“This makes DU more affordable to veterans. It makes DU more attractive to veterans,” says Damon Vine, DU’s veteran services coordinator. “Easing that financial burden means, hopefully, higher GPAs, because there is less stress about worrying where finances are coming from.”

The announcement was made on Veterans Day during the University of Denver’s Pioneer Symposium. The theme for the Nov. 11 event focused on politics and service. It provided an opportunity for alumni and the community to hear from faculty about how the University is leading the discussion on this important topic.

“The faculty we have at DU provides a length of insight that I think provides perspective beyond just a moment in time,” said Brandon Buzbee, associate vice chancellor of University Advancement. “This event is really about asking some of the big questions and getting insight around the long-term implications of things like the presidential election and understanding what happens domestically and internationally.”

One of the sessions featured the Graduate School of Professional Psychology’s (GSPP) new Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology. It addresses the increased need for psychologists with expertise in assisting veterans with the particular issues they face. The program has two key components: an educational track that prepares graduate students to work with veterans and their families; and the Sturm Center, a clinic available to all veterans and their families.

“The clinic is training health professionals and training budding psychologists to be specialists in this field,” said Katy Barrs, clinic director for the Sturm Center. “We are actually providing individual therapy, group therapy and family therapy to veterans, service members and their families.”

All of the therapists at the Sturm Center are GSPP students training to be clinical psychologists and learning about the health disparities that face the military and veteran population.

“We are trying to do the things that we know work and take the things that we see are not working in different parts of the community, in terms of mental and behavioral health, and change that up and make it a little bit more effective for our veterans and service members.,” said Jacob Hyde, faculty director of the Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology.

The work both Hyde and Barrs are doing together sets DU’s program apart from many others across the country.

“There are a lot of programs that are doing the clinical piece and there are a lot of programs that are doing the in-class piece. We are one of the only ones that is integrating both pieces together,” Barrs said.

The Pioneer Symposium featured retired Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr, fifth commander of the Unites States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and 22nd commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). He joined a panel discussion that also featured Dean Christopher Hill, Rachel Epstein and Nader Hashemi of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Jacoby talked about his 37 years in the military and the importance of discussing politics and service on Veterans Day.

“We have a volunteer service, and one of the keys to getting the quality of volunteers that our country deserves in their military is by showing that veterans matter to the country and matter to the community. It’s a powerful message to young men and women looking for ways to serve,” Jacoby said.

The Nov. 11 Pioneer Symposium was the second of four scheduled for the 2016–17 academic year. Remaining sessions will be held on March 1 (Social Justice and Community Building) and May 5 (Inclusive Excellence and Empowerment).

To watch coverage of September's Pioneer Symposium on health and aging, click here.