Joan Marie Putnam
Joan & Art Baron Veterans Center Director
As director of the SDSU Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center, Joan Putnam directs the Center which serves as the hub for all student veteran support services on campus. This includes all aspects of the veteran benefit programs for SDSU’s undergraduate and graduate veterans, active duty military, reservists, and dependents. She also oversees SDSU’s Veterans House.
Joan chairs the SDSU Veterans Scholarship Committee, is co-chair of the SDSU Troops to College working group, serves on the SDSU War Memorial Committee and team-teaches a “Military to Student” transition class. Her commitment to veterans extends beyond her work life – her father was a World War II veteran.
Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Enrollment Services
Mentor For Life, Spring 2010
Dr. Sandra Cook, Director of Enrollment Services, has been one of the most influential and staunch supporters of the SVO since its founding in 2006. In her role as Director of Enrollment Services, she is responsible for ensuring fairness, neutrality and equal opportunity to all students seeking admittance to SDSU. She is not only able to accomplish this with a level of professionalism, tact, maturity and objectivity, she is also capable of a great deal of enthusiasm and encouragement for those students and programs that bring positive attention to the University. Case in point, her undeniable support of the Student Veteran Organization and the Veteran Center.
Dr. Sandra Cook was instrumental in getting the Veteran Center a larger space, more funding and seeking sponsors in the community to assist with the development of the lounge area and other assets.
She was also instrumental in making liaison with General Officers from the immediate area’s bases allowing them to petition successfully for admittance in cases of deserving Veterans and Active Duty Service members. Major General Lehnert requested and was granted a “special admit” for Nick Keith, former V.P. of Communications and House Committee Chair.
She has supported the War Memorial and it’s Ceremony since it’s inception and has worked with members of the Founders’ Committee to protect and maintain the monument. It was at the ceremony in 2006 that she met Mark Daemon and worked with Cheryl Trtan (Alumni Association), Joan Putnam (Veteran Center Director), Bob and Pat Menke (Founders Committee), Dr. Kitchen (Dean of Student Affairs) and Anthony Ghio (Founders Committee) to get Mark Daemon as a “special admit” after he returned from a combat tour in Iraq.
She has worked tirelessly with Colonel Peterson on the California Governor’s Troops to College Program. She has traveled several times to Sacramento to speak on behalf of the program and its benefits. She has helped devise ways to make the path easier for Veterans and service members to make the transition to Undergraduate degree work.
She worked with President Weber directly to ensure that (even though there were no spaces available and that the admittance was frozen at the time) Peter Salas (former President of the SVO) was allowed to begin a Masters course of study. This required direct contact with the Chancellor of the CSU system and amounted to “calling in a huge favor” and putting their positions and their reputations on the line.
She worked the issue (behind the scenes) with the campus and the President to support Ivo Moreno’s request and plan for Veteran Housing on the campus. This led directly to the granting of the SVO House that we presently are allowed to use and have as a base of operations. She also was instrumental in the affixing of the seal to the front of the house.
She has attended many events in support of the SVO directly such as the “20 Foot Long Banana Split”, two formal dinners, three breakfasts and every War Memorial ceremony. Each time she has been invited, she has made the effort to attend or has sent an emissary on behalf of the Enrollment Services office.
She has reported directly to Dr. Weber and Colonel Peterson on the progress and status of Veterans on the campus, for the purpose of sharing with Congressmen and Legislators objectively how the Veterans perform and achieve in a college environment. The reason why SDSU’s SVO is getting a great deal of positive press is the amount of detailed data that is being provided to those in positions of authority to help and represent Veterans on a National level. Our GPAs are consistently and significantly higher than that of the average student on college campuses, but it wasn’t until that Dr. Sandra Cook was specifically asking the questions and pressing the issue that the Governor began to take a strong interest in the Veteran cause. Colonel Peterson led the charge, but Sandra Cook gave him the ammunition to make the changes that are currently beginning.
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Tom Richards
Chairman United Veterans Council
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Stephen L. Weber
President, San Diego State University 1996-2011
Stephen L. Weber is the seventh president of San Diego State University. Educated as a philosopher, President Weber assumed his administrative responsibilities at SDSU in July 1996 and shortly afterward initiated a campus/community dialogue intended to set the course for the university’s future. Guided by this “Shared Vision,” SDSU has moved boldly ahead: reinforcing academic excellence, nurturing students, honoring diversity and social justice, carefully stewarding resources, and further developing global programs.
In the process, SDSU has become an increasingly popular and selective choice among university-bound students. For fall 2010, some 62,300 undergraduate applicants competed for approximately 6,000 vacancies. Not surprisingly, the overall academic quality of SDSU students is also rising. SAT scores have risen approximately 100 points and the average high school GPA of incoming first-time freshmen is now over 3.6.
Under President Weber’s leadership, SDSU created The Campanile Foundation, the university fundraising auxiliary. Since The Campanile Foundation was established in 1999, SDSU has raised approximately $583 million, 300 percent more than in the previous 103-year history of the university. Under President Weber’s leadership, The Campanile Foundation launched SDSU’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign in July 2007. To date, the campaign has raised more than $200 million.
SDSU is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s top urban research universities, working for the diverse peoples of Southern California to address such issues as health and human services, poverty, public safety, and arts and culture. Since 2006, SDSU has been ranked the No. 1 most productive research university in the United States, among schools with 14 or fewer Ph.D. programs*. Last year, faculty and staff of SDSU successfully competed for more than $150 million in grants and contracts – a record for the university. In addition, a recent study showed SDSU’s economic impact to the state and region as $6.5 billion annually.
A champion of community involvement, President Weber has been an advocate for community service. SDSU has been active in K-12 school reform, administering three inner-city schools enrolling more than 5,000 mostly low-income, highly diverse students and pioneering an often-copied “Compact for Success” working with the Sweetwater Unified High School district, California’s largest and most diverse secondary school district. SDSU has also worked closely with area business and industry to pioneer programs such as Hospitality and Tourism Management, Construction Engineering Management, Nurses Now and Regulatory Affairs (biotech).
More recently, SDSU has established itself as one of the nation’s most military-friendly universities. With more than 1,000 veteran, active-duty and dependent students on campus, the university opened the CSU’s first Veterans Center in 2008 and has since opened the nation’s only Veterans House to provide veterans with on-campus housing. The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs recognized SDSU’s commitment to veterans when it opened a VA office on campus, only the second in the nation and the first in California to be located on a university campus. In 2009, Weber was the recipient of the San Diego Military Advisory Council’s annual achievement award honoring individuals and organizations whose work has supported the military community in San Diego.
President Weber has also overseen a physical transformation of the university, with more than $670 million in new facilities built at San Diego State over the past 14 years. Among the new buildings are the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center and the BioScience Center, both built entirely thanks to the generosity of alumni and community donors and without any state assistance. Weber also helped to bring the trolley to San Diego State in 2005. In 2010, Weber was honored with a Clean Air Circle Award from the American Lung Association for his project leadership, which has taken thousands of cars off the road and significantly reduced traffic and parking issues on Montezuma Mesa
Leading by example, President Weber is the past chair of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Board of Directors, and co-chaired Partners for K-12 School Reform. He currently serves on the board of governors of the Peres Center for Peace, BIOCOM, and the board of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, in addition to being an active member of the Community Advisory Council for SDG&E. He is a member of the San Diego Rotary Club, an honorary director of the Japanese Society of San Diego and Tijuana, and an honorary advisor to the Asia Desk of the San Diego World Trade Center. Additionally, President Weber has served on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and the NCAA Executive Committee.
Born in Boston, President Weber is a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a B.A. in philosophy. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1969 and is the author of numerous articles on philosophy and higher education.
President Weber’s many awards include an honorary degree from Beijing Capital Normal University and distinguished alumnus at his alma mater, Bowling Green State University.
President Weber has also been awarded and recognized for his many professional and community accomplishments. To name but a few of his prestigious awards, he is the recipient of the San Diego Mediation Center’s Peacemaker’s Award, the San Diego Education Association’s Executive Director’s Award, and the recipient of the Gold Key Award from the San Diego Hospitality Association. In 2008 President Weber received the Diogenes Award from the Public Relations Society of America recognizing his forthrightness and honesty.
Before coming to San Diego State University, President Weber served at a number of universities in a variety of positions. He was president of The State University of New York’s Oswego campus as well as interim provost for academic affairs for the entire 64 campus system. Before that, he was vice president for academic affairs at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, and dean of arts and sciences at Fairfield University in Connecticut. President Weber also served as assistant to the president at the University of Maine, and while a faculty member there he was honored as outstanding professor in humanities.
James R. Kitchen Ed. D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Mentor For Life, 2011-2012
Dr. James Kitchen currently serves as Vice President for Student Affairs at San Diego State University, a position he has held for eleven years.
Prior to arriving at San Diego State, Dr. Kitchen held the position of Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs/Dean of Students at the University of Kansas. He also served in a number of administrative positions at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, where he also held the position of Head Assistant Basketball Coach.
Recent awards and honors include the 2010 Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education Leadership Award, the 2008 SDSU Summer Bridge Leadership Award. He was named a 2007 Pillar of the Profession by the NASPA Foundation (the most prestigious award given in honor of service in the area of Student Affairs). Also, the NASPA Region VI–2008 Distinguished Service to the Profession Award; the San Diego State University Quest for the Best Leadership Award; the KPBS Local Hero Award in Education; San Diego State University Honorary Ambassador; the SDSU Associated Students Harvey Goodfriend Leadership Award; The Jim Kitchen Student Success Olympics named in his honor at the University of Kansas; and the Moberly Area Community College Basketball Hall of Fame. Dr. Kitchen was the Special Recognition Honoree for the 2006 Annual Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB) Banquet, hosted by the SAAB Chapter of SDSU, an organization he founded in 2004.
Prior to beginning his higher education experience, Dr. Kitchen served in the U.S. Army and is a Vietnam combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient. He is married and has four children, and four beautiful granddaughters. His favorite hobbies include boating, fishing, NCAA basketball, and enjoying time with his family.