St. Joseph’s College hosted a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for its new Military and Veterans Lounge on Thursday, February 21. The new lounge is located on the second floor of O’Connor Hall on SJC’s Long Island Campus in Patchogue.
Since the Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect in August 2009, providing enhanced tuition benefits and stipends for books, supplies and housing, the College has seen a significant spike in enrollment of military connected students (active-duty service members and veterans), who numbered fewer than 20 as recently as 2006.
“Currently, there are 183 military or veteran students enrolled at St. Joseph’s College, and 116 are on the Long Island Campus alone,” said Shannon O’Neill, assistant dean for the School of Professional and Graduate Studies on the Long Island Campus, and one of SJC’s two full-time military advisers, along with the Brooklyn Campus’ John Keenan.
“The lounge is a place for those who have served or are currently serving our country, to find a quiet spot to study or to meet and get to know some of their fellow service members,” Ms. O’Neill said.
SJC’s Military and Veterans Lounge has information on local resources for the veteran population, both on and off campus. An American flag on display in the lounge was previously flown over Sadr City, Iraq, on July 4, 2010. It was donated by SJC’s Armed forces Association Club President Richard Laureano, a former Army sergeant and current National Guardsman who served three tours of duty in Iraq between 2004 and 2011.
St. Joseph’s College enjoys an excellent reputation among the military and veteran community. A participating member of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, SJC was recently named to G.I. Jobs magazine’s 2013 military-friendly schools list and was also included in the 2013 Guide to Top Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities published by Military Advanced Education, a journal of higher learning for today’s service member.
“It is an honor to service those who have served our country,” Ms. O’Neill said. “We try to do as much as we can to assist our military students and assure success in achieving their educational goals.”