Shippensburg University has tapped Charles Payne, a veteran who has served in the military for 29 years, to coordinate a program overseeing veteran and nontraditional student affairs in the Veterans’ Resource Center.
The roles and tasks of a newly created position are usually uncertain and up in the air. However, Payne said he has some ideas on what he wants to accomplish.
“My short-term goal is to reinvigorate the Student Veterans of America and increase the awareness of veteran students on campus,” Payne said. “One long-term goal is to improve programming across the board for veteran and nontraditional students.”
Payne’s main goals are to advocate for veteran and nontraditional students, seek out their needs and be the person to communicate with the university to find solutions for those students.
He hopes to reach out and get more veterans the opportunity to go to school and get them enrolled at the university.
Payne wants the center to serve as a safe place for veterans to talk about their challenges. Payne knows what they have been through.
Payne has a vast military experience, spending time working in different areas of the country.
Payne worked at the Pentagon for only three months before a plane crashed into what used to be his office in Sept. 11, 2001. He left the Pentagon to work as the deputy commandant of cadets at Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, one of only six senior military colleges. He said his position was similar to a military dean.
Payne also taught as a military historian at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for three years. He also ran the military program at Oklahoma State University for three years.
Payne said he is looking forward to wearing civilian clothes to work for the first time since he was 17 years old. He always dressed in military uniforms at his previous jobs.
There are many things that SU offers to veteran students, including mental health services and the Veterans’ Resource Center in the Ceddia Union Building Room 235.
Veterans will also have access to the on-campus Student Veteran’s Association (SVA), priority scheduling, federal tuition assistance, scholarships and parking for those who were awarded the Purple Heart.
Payne wants all student veterans to know that he too is a resource.