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Veterans center receives $2 million donation

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Liliana Castañeda
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne celebrated Veteran’s Day Monday by announcing a $2 million donation from Sara and Michael Abraham to the Center for Veteran Students Success.

The center will be renamed the Sara and Michael Abraham Veteran Center for Students Success.

The center also received $200,000 from two anonymous sources, which will aid the remodel of some spaces in the existing house.

Approximately 150 people celebrated the Veteran’s Day event Monday with an appreciation and pride walk and a Veterans Day ceremony held at the Veterans Hall.

Sara and Michael Abraham have donated to the University of La Verne before, despite not having been alums from ULV.

They funded the necessary resources to create the Sara and Michael Abraham Campus Center thus having it named after them as well.

Diana Towles, coordinator for Veteran Students Success opened the event that honored the veterans in front of Founders Hall.

“We believe in our veteran students and we will strive to assist with that growth the center continues to improve and enhance its programs and facilities,” Towles said.

Towles introduced Amanda Calhoun, student veteran and kinesiology major who gave her speech.

Calhoun served as a Marine in an eight month combat deployment mission throughout her time in service from 2011 to 2015.

“I hope it will bring more veterans to the student population, and that the vet center makes them feel a little bit more appreciated,” Calhoun said.

“Initially when there was no Veteran Center, there was no place for us to get together. You kind of feel like you don’t matter. So having events like these and a place like the center makes us feel wanted and appreciated,”she added.

Devorah Lieberman, the University president, said the Veteran’s Center is an important part of the University.

“In 2013 I got a call from a foundation who said the University of La Verne has been selected to receive financial support for veteran students. And they said you do what you want with these dollars for 10 years to serve the veteran students at ULV,” Lieberman said.

“So we said lets create a great space for veteran students on campus,“ she added.

Lieberman brought Calhoun to the podium again who accepted the check from Sara and Michael Abraham on behalf of the 700 student veterans at the University.

“My brother was a pilot during the Korean War, my uncle was a paraplegic and was an ex-marine. So there was a military background in my family and I felt like there really should be an excellent center,” said Michael Abraham, a 22-year-long member of the board at ULV and philanthropist.

The celebration took to the streets as a mini-parade on the sidewalk from Founders Hall, where the announcements had been done, to the Veterans Hall three blocks down the street.

Boy Scouts, police officers, veterans, community members and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12034 paid tribute to the history of the armed forces, and to the fallen, past and present servicemen.

“Between here and home we had other names like mom, dad, son, brother, daughter, sister,” said Dan Harden, member of VFW Post 12034.

“They volunteered for military service because they believe in the destiny and the promise of the American dream, and the essential goodness of America,” he added.

It is unsure when the new renovations for the Sara and Michael Abraham Veteran Students Success Center will begin.

“It is that courage, love and sacrifice for our country that we cherish and honor today,” Harden said.

Liliana Castañeda can be reached at liliana.castaneda@laverne.edu.

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