Veteran Success Center creates “new home” for university military members


Photo courtesy of Charlotte Bassett

The mural inside of the Veteran Success Center in Sheffield Hall, West Haven, Sept. 8, 2022.

The Veteran Success Center has officially opened as a resource center for members of the university community who are veterans or hold military affiliation.

During its grand opening ceremony, which took place on Sept. 8, those in attendance found a sea of flags, each representing one branch of the United States Armed Forces, flying beside the podium where Manager of Military and Veteran Affairs Ryan Noonan stood making his opening remarks. Noonan, who is also a former student veteran who served in the Marine Corps, spoke not only to the veterans within the University of New Haven, but also to those who live day-to-day around them.

“To say that life in the military– whether it be four years or 40– changes you would be an understatement,” Noonan said. One of the main motifs of his speech surrounded the difficulty that veterans encounter when transitioning out of service and back into the rest of their lives.

He said that “one of the biggest hurdles our veterans encounter is this transition back into the civilian world.”

“The very opening of this center speaks to that transition and the progress that we’ve made,” he said, as he continued to talk about the growth that occurs from one’s time in the military and in their life following it. The center is operating in hopes to help veterans with this growth, which Noonan said should never stop.

Noonan provided a message to veterans in the community and acknowledged their conditioned discipline gained from their time in service, saying “don’t leave it behind, but harness it with a purpose.”

At the conclusion of his speech, the center unveiled the VA Work Study student Mural Project, which was said to have taken 225 hours to fully complete. It reads “service to scholar” and depicts a man in uniform and a woman holding academic supplies, both standing proudly with the university’s charger head between them and a star printed with the American flag behind the school’s logo. The mural is now on display inside the lounge of the Veteran Success Center.

Noonan closed by welcoming everyone into their “new home” on campus.

Following the ceremony, Noonan spoke further about his role in the development of the center, and what can be expected and hoped for now that it is in operation.

He said the process began back when he was a student veteran attending the university, when his role involved being a voice for what the student veteran population wanted and needed, serving as what he described as a representative and advocate.

He said that his biggest goal is for the university to become green zone certified, and to become the number one school for veterans within the next 10 years.

Now, Noonan holds the role of being the advisor for all of the military affiliated students and student veterans on campus. He is here to help aid them in any realm inside or beyond academic affairs, whether that entails getting them in contact with the Counseling and Psychological Services, or assisting them with Accessibility Resource Center contact if they are having trouble taking tests.

“They can always come to me with any issues that they have, and I will do my utmost to resolve them,” he said.

He also said his office is located inside the center and that students could ask questions and get immediate answers there.

“A part of the difficulty in transition is the trepidation that student veterans have with breaking out of their shell early,” he said, “and helping them to break out of their shell, and blossom as a person” is a goal of the center.

The Veteran Success Center can be found at the back end of Sheffield Hall, and is open to all students seeking further resources and support.