CARBONDALE -- SIU received a special award for its work with veterans Thursday.
Simon Wlodarski, deputy chief of staff with the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs, presented SIU with the Governor's Award for Excellence in Veteran Education in Illinois for spring semester 2014.
This was SIU's second time receiving the award. The university last received the inaugural award in 2010.
The ceremony took place at SIU's practice football field, a few yards from the Traveling Vietnam Wall.
Wlodarski said the award is given twice a year by the Governor and Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs to the educational institution that goes above and beyond in providing opportunities for veterans transitioning back to civilian life.
"They might need someone to talk to about what direction to take, accessing their benefits or translating their military experience to programs and career paths," Wlodarski said. "Educational institutions are key in providing this guidance.
"What institutions give to veterans, veterans give back to the campus and the larger community."
He said SIU is goes beyond the call to assist veterans.
"SIU provides a board array of programs that empower veterans as well as other students, he said. "This university goes out of it's way to assist veterans and their families, and addressing issues related to admissions, financial support and others."
Susan Ford, representative for the provost's office and vice chancellor for academic affairs at SIU, received the award for the university.
"The fact this ceremony is taking place on Patriot's Day, a few feet from the Traveling Vietnam Wall, adds even more meaning to this," Ford said. "This is also significant because SIU is the only university to receive this award twice."
She said assisting veterans is something the university gets a great sense of accomplishment from doing.
"Assisting those who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms is a meaningful way to express our thanks, Ford said.
SIU President Randy Dunn the fact the university is receiving this award for the second time speaks to its dedication in working with veterans who want to continue their education.
"It is more than just doing academic advisement or getting them enrolled in classes," Dunn said. "We work very hard at SIU to provide a full range if services to support them."