Although the National Veterans Resource Center at Syracuse University (NVRC) has been completed for the past 20 months, the dedication of the building had to wait due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The wait allowed for the namesakes of the building that houses the NVRC, billionaire businessman Dan D'Aniello and his wife Gayle, to be on hand for the dedication ceremony on Nov. 2, 2021. When it came time for D'Aniello to speak, he announced another gift for the Institute of Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), which is housed within the NVRC
"Syracuse University, for decades, has dedicated itself to veterans and to their service," D'Aniello said. "The NVRC stands as a jewel box to improve the lives of students and veterans alike, and into this jewel box, I am thrilled to announce that my wife and I will be establishing a $30 million endowment for the IVMF to ensure the sustainability and growth of its program."
D'Aniello is a Syracuse University graduate and a U.S. Navy veteran who was on campus during the American involvement in Vietnam. He served in the Navy as a supply officer aboard the USS Wasp from 1968 until 1971. He recalled the life of military-connected students on college campuses during the Vietnam War.
After his military service ended, D'Aniello went into corporate finance, working for PepsiCo and Trans World Airlines before forming the Carlyle investment firm in 1987. His endowment gift follows the $20 million he donated toward the construction of the building that now bears his name.
"I vividly remember the dismissive and even hostile environment for veterans on campuses across the country," he said at the dedication ceremony. "We've come a long way since then, but Chancellor Kent Syverud has demonstrated the resolve to stand fast in reaffirming valuing the education and welfare of current and future veterans."
With D'Aniello already serving as co-chairman of the IVMF with his gift, Syverud announced that the IVMF will now be known as the D'Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families.
Along with housing the IVMF, the National Veterans Resource Center is where Syracuse University ROTC students receive military instruction, is home to SU's Office of Veteran Success, Veteran Career Services and Office of Veteran and Military Affairs.
The NVRC is a public-private partnership designed to promote academic research and design real-world programs to improve the lives of veterans across the United States, whether they attended Syracuse University or not.
NVRC's centerpiece is the IVMF, which conducts research and analysis on the lives of veterans during their service and in their post-military careers. It uses that research to provide training programs and career services in entrepreneurship, education opportunities and employment in many sectors, including veterans seeking political office.
Most recently, the IVMF was awarded $5 million in federal grants as part of the Biden administration's Community Navigator Pilot Program. The grants will be disbursed to help small, veteran-owned businesses in their pandemic recovery efforts.
“The IVMF was thrilled to learn of U.S. Navy veteran and University Life Trustee Dan D’Aniello’s commitment to a $30 million gift this week,” Mike Haynie, vice chancellor and IVMF executive director and founder, said in a statement. “[The gift] will support the creation of an endowment to provide annual operational support for the IVMF, ensuring it remains the nation’s leading academic institute focused on the concerns of America’s more than 20 million veterans and their families.”
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