The mission of the Chez Veteran’s Center (CVC) is to maximize the academic, social, health and career potential of veterans and military connected persons. We are undaunted in our vision to be the preeminent university center for transformational research, education, and innovative support services that benefit current and future generations of veterans, active duty members of the military, reservists, National Guard members, and their families.
The CVC is a truly remarkable facility and is the only student veterans’ center in the country to house residential and service functions in one structure. Residential units have been designed and equipped to house veterans with severe disabilities who otherwise would have difficulty getting a quality college education experience. In addition, our building contains classrooms and computer labs, research space, a well-equipped gym, fully functional kitchen, study rooms, lounges, residential rooms, staff offices, and even playrooms for children. We provide an array of resources for veterans and military-connected students. Some of these include academic coaching, tutoring, individual and group mental health counseling, career guidance, peer and corporate mentoring, and VA benefits consultation. We also conduct advocacy and veteran ally training, serve as a catalyst and clearinghouse for research by scholars on campus and nationally, and teach university courses on issues confronting veterans. It’s no surprise that over the past few years, the CVC has become the hub of activity for military-connected students on campus.
The CVC was made possible with a lead gift of $6 million from Ronald L Chez and the Chez Family Foundation. Ron received a Bachelor’s degree (Phi Beta Kappa) in 1962 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As an investor in private and public companies, Ron has been a generous philanthropist and supporter of the University of Illinois. He co-founded the Chicago Youth Success Foundation and has funded the Chez Family Scholars Program and the Chez Family Scholarships for Students with Disabilities at the University of Illinois.
When asked why the CVC was important to build and complete, Ron opined, “ I cannot think of a higher priority for private citizens and government than to provide opportunities for education, independence, and bright futures to those who have served all of us.”