Oceanside CA— After his ninth year in the Marine Corps and following five deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, RJ Boniface decided it was time to start a new chapter in his life. In 2012, the 28-year-old left the military and entered a competitive job market. Finding it difficult to start a career, he realized he needed a college degree and enrolled in classes at MiraCosta College.
“The transition from military life to student life was easy because MiraCosta is so vet-friendly,” said Boniface, who has since completed an associate of arts degree in accounting and will transfer to California State University, Long Beach in January 2015. “Plus, I very much appreciated having a space here at the college where veterans can share experiences and build relationships.”
In order to better serve more veterans like Boniface, MiraCosta College is opening a new Veterans Information Center at its Oceanside Campus. The center, located inside the T100 building, is substantially larger than the original center, which was opened in 2009 inside an old office on the other side of campus.
“Having a bigger Veterans Information Center is great because you have a lot of veterans who come to school and want a space to study and hangout for camaraderie,” said Hector Rodriguez, a Marine Corps veteran and MiraCosta College Veterans Club president. “This will help veterans to become more successful too, knowing that the college cares.”
MiraCosta’s veteran population has ballooned over the past 10 years. In 2003, the college served approximately 900 active duty and veteran students. Today, MiraCosta enrolls nearly 1,500 active duty and veteran students, plus an additional 800 of their family members.
In addition to finding a bigger space to serve the larger student population, the college also remodeled the building’s interior and exterior. Bill Kuhnert, owner of bkm OfficeWorks, a San Diego based workspace solution dealer became involved with the project and generously donated all new furniture.
“We’re very thankful for all that our veterans do for us and our country,” said Kuhnert. “I want veterans to be able to go to MiraCosta College and know they have a place where they can get help, be cared for and be comfortable. They deserve all of this and more.”
Along with new furnishings, the center also has a computer lab with eight computers and a lounge area in which students can network and hold meetings. Veterans counselors, and the Veterans Student Services coordinator, secretary and peer advisers will also be located at the center.
“This wonderful facility is an excellent addition to the campus and will assist a growing number of men and women who have served their country and who absolutely deserve our admiration and support,” said MiraCosta College Interim Superintendent/President Richard Robertson.
The center will celebrate its grand opening on November 10, 2014 at 12:30 p.m., in conjunction with the college’s celebration of the Marine Corps birthday and Veterans Day. For more information about the new Veterans Information Center or to RSVP to the event, contact the Veterans Information Center at 760.757.2121 x6222 or visit its website at www.miracosta.edu/veterans.