A University Place for Veterans
|On Ohio State graduation day in 1968, Lawrence Miller is joined by his wife, Carole, and their children Kim, Tim, and Jim (right end). Jim recalls going to his first Buckeye football game at age 7 with his father.
Ohio State is proud to offer a homelike housing option for students who are veterans. The Veteran’s House, located on East 17th Avenue, is a renovated residence that accommodates 17 soldiers living on campus as they pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees. In this way, veterans have an opportunity to be supportive of each other.
The idea came about in 2009 when Jim Miller came across the rambling, two-story fraternity house in great need of repair. As the son of a career military man, Miller—who now serves as a senior associate vice president of Ohio State’s Office of Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer—decided that renovating the university-owned house and creating a veteran community was an ideal way to honor his father, Major Lawrence Miller, and the Buckeye community of more than 1,100 veterans.
Jim Miller had moved with his family 28 times before he was 18 years old. They lived primarily in overseas bases and temporary stateside housing, except for the occasions his father pursued his bachelor’s degree at Ohio State—and returned as a commissioned officer in the Air Force for a master’s degree. Because of these two experiences, Miller viewed Ohio State as his most consistent home in the United States.
“President Gee has often mentioned that Ohio State is the pathway to the ‘American Dream.’ For my family that pathway started first with some time spent in the Navy by my father,” Miller said. “At the age of 27, my dad was fortunate to attend and graduate with his first degree from Ohio State. It was during the two times my dad attended Ohio State that I fell in love with this great university.”
To make his plan for veteran housing a reality, Miller located individuals and businesses that would support the concept, including Linda Meeks, his neighbor and a professor emeritus in the School of Physical Activity and Educational Services. As he found gift-in-kind donors to provide materials and labor, the overall renovation goals expanded. In total, more than $200,000 in monetary and in-kind giving was raised for the venture. Contributors included Dupler Office Co., Home Depot, Macy’s, Lifestyle Communities, and Buckeye Resources, as well as the Major Lawrence Miller Military Fund, an endowment for ROTC and veteran student activities.
In June, a local Boy Scout troop provided much time and energy to help landscape the grounds, including the steep, grassy hill that makes up the front yard. Thirteen-year-old Bruce Reichert spearheaded the exterior facelift in his quest to become an Eagle Scout. With a combination of supplies and supervision from Buckeye Resources, Goods from the Woods, Buckeye Landscape, and Outdoor Living by Mr. Mulch, Reichert led troop members in carrying out the project.
The impact of this renovation is sure to be one of camaraderie and commitment as veterans find a comfortable home in Ohio State, as Jim and his father did. “Ohio State is home to me, and it is a distinct honor to have attended and now work at this great institution,” he said.
For more on ways to support veterans at Ohio State: veterans.osu.edu
To support the Veteran's House: giveto.osu.edu/veteranshouse