University celebrates Veterans Upward Bound program

man cuts ribbon
Tim Marroquin cuts a ribbon at the new TRIO Veterans Upward Bound office in the Eberhard Center.
Image Credit: Valerie Wojciechowski
woman at podium
Samantha Rose, president of the GVSU Chapter of Student Veterans of America
Image Credit: Valerie Wojciechowski

Grand Valley celebrated the opening of the TRIO Veterans Upward Bound program January 31 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Eberhard Center, site of the new office.

In October, the university received a $1.3 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish VUB, which will eventually serve 125 pre-college, low-income, first-generation veterans per year from Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan counties. 

Samantha Rose, graduate student and president of the GVSU Chapter of Student Veterans of America, said her own path through college would have been smoother if she had access to VUB services.

"I had a failed attempt at community college, and my story is not unique," Rose said, adding that a clerical error nearly jeopardized her GI Bill funding. 

Rose was the first in her family to attend college, and said she is typical of the veterans that VUB will serve. She pledged peer support from chapter members to help VUB participants succeed. 

The college access and degree completion services tailored to veterans will include advising and mentoring programs, instructor-led computer courses, course materials and supplies. More than 75 percent of veterans in West Michigan who are over age 25 do not have a bachelor's degree.

President Thomas J. Haas said VUB enhances the university's other services for veterans and their dependents.

"We want veterans who are students to have the skills they need to succeed and be able to go on to careers and serve as leaders in their communities," Haas said.

Tim Marroquin serves as director of VUB; learn more at