Veterans Lounge updates include comforts of home

Mount Mercy University’s Veterans Lounge was given a much-needed facelift thanks to a generous donation from Dean Kent ’79 and his wife, Shirley.

Mount Mercy has 60 students who identify as veterans, and the lounge was first established in 2014 to serve as a place for Mount Mercy’s student-veterans to meet up, study and unwind in a private space, away from the bustle of everyday campus life.

The Kents, who are no strangers to life in the military, have a special interest in veterans who want to pursue higher education because of opportunities they were given.

“Both of us came from backgrounds where our parents didn’t have a college education, so the serving in the military is what gave him the opportunity to get a college education because he had the GI Bill,” said Shirley of her husband. “Now, there’s not that kind of commitment to veterans through the Veterans Administration, so that was part of the reason I planted the seed with Dean.”

Dean’s military experience is extensive, retiring from the Reserves as a Captain in 1990.

“I’ve always felt real strongly about helping veterans, and I wanted a unique way to help Mount Mercy,” he said. “Lonna (Drewelow, assistant vice president for alumni development) came up with the idea, and I thought it was a great idea, so we have a couple scholarships we help support.”

The donation was used to upgrade the space in first floor Warde Hall, which now includes modern furniture, two new computers, books, fresh paint, a phone, a refrigerator and a microwave.

“I’ve always felt a strong connection to Mount Mercy because of the faculty that we had and still have at the university,” Dean said. “I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Mount Mercy. It’s been an ongoing connection, and we plan to continue the ongoing connection.”

The lounge is just one of a variety of veteran-specific offerings at Mount Mercy. For more details and a full list of services, visit www.mtmercy.edu/veterans.

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