Skip to Main Site Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Back To Top
decorative element

Eastern’s Veterans Center, Serving Hundreds of Students

Published on April 08, 2015

Eastern’s Veterans Center, Serving Hundreds of Students

Approximately five percent of the student body at Eastern Connecticut State University—nearly 300 people— are military veterans. Eastern’s veterans center held an open house on April 8. In addition to a tour of the center’s services, Mark Johnson, a social worker with the Norwich Vet Center, discussed the challenges veterans face when transitioning to and from service.


“Vet centers are an oasis,” said Johnson, who also serves on the Connecticut Army National Guard. “They are places where vets can be around people who have been through what they’ve been through; people who share the same struggles.” Johnson’s talk was aimed at nonmilitary civilians, to help them understand the experience of servicemen and women when they return from active duty. “At home, everything is normal, but once you’re deployed, everything changes—the sights, sounds, smells, work routine; everything is different,” he said. “Eventually you get used to it, but when you come home, everything changes again. On top of the traumatic experience of battle, some deal with this adjustment better than others.”


Eastern alumnus William Chapman, a veteran with decades of military experience as a Marine and member of the Army Reserves, attended the open house and spoke of his own experience with vet centers. “After my service, I knew something wasn’t right. I was angry, lethargic and lacked motivation,” he said. Reluctantly, he visited a vet center and was able to speak his mind and share his experience with others in similar situations. “It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Many veterans are diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder and face additional challenges as students. The Vet Center at Eastern features a quiet study room, a lounge with free coffee and the camaraderie and support of fellow servicemen and women. The director is Larry Schmitz, a 20-year Navy veteran, and he can be contacted at (860) 465-0401 or

Written by Michael Rouleau

Categories: Veterans