Campus reopens renovated Epstein Family Veterans Center with ceremony


Photo by Ryan Van Stralen

President Neufeldt and Maj. Gen. Tony Jackson cutting the ribbon.

CSUSM formally unveiled the newly renovated and expanded Epstein Family Veterans Center in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 10. 


The existing building was renovated and an additional building was constructed. A large wooden deck connects the two adjacent structures. The project was made possible by a 2017 donation of $1 million from the Epstein Family Foundation. 


With the expansion, the Epstein Family Veterans Center more than doubled in size. Veterans and military-affiliated students can now take advantage of the spacious, comfortable center which has computer labs, lounge areas, a conference room and staff offices. 


Addressing Dan and Phyllis Epstein, CSUSM President Neufeldt said, “You really are the embodiment of generosity and support…Your commitment to our campus, to the community and most importantly our veterans, it just means so much.”  

“[At CSUSM], we have the highest per capita number of military students among any of the California State University campuses and we are so proud of that,” Neufeldt said, “we want to see our support of our vets grow on our campus.”


Ryan Dokich, a Marine Corps veteran and CSUSM student who emceed the event, said that having a space dedicated to veterans on campus means a lot to him. 


“For me, the Epstein Family Veterans Center served as a sanctuary. It was a place I could quietly study away from all the distractions and I always felt comfortable here… having this space helped me succeed despite the difficulties I was facing. I’m incredibly grateful for this center and for all the services provided to student veterans,” said Dokich.


Rep. Mike Levin of California’s 49th congressional district also spoke at the event. Levin’s grandfather was a veteran of the Air Force during WWII, which gave the representative a greater understanding of and appreciation for the sacrifices that veterans make for their country.


“I’m deeply grateful for the service of all American men and women around the world who continue to dedicate their lives to the same mission, keeping our country safe and free,” Levin said.


Levin, who serves as the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, said that we need to do a better job at taking care of our veterans, who have sacrificed so much for their country. 


“We can’t continue to leave veterans behind. We can’t allow men and women who have served to fall into homelessness, to go without mental health services they deserve or go without a job,” he said.


Attendees then heard from the Chair of the Foundation Board, Major General Tony Jackson. 


He said, “[The new center] is a foundation stone that cannot be erased from the history of this campus, this city or this region.” 


Jackson went on to thank others who helped create the new center, including Silver Creek Industries, CSUSM’s Office of Planning, Design and Construction and Dick Miller (DMI) ConstructionI, a general engineering contractor. He also thanked the Veterans Services staff, who patiently endured constantly shifting office spaces during the construction process. 


San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones also commented on her gratitude for the philanthropic efforts of the Epstein Family Foundation in providing for the needs of veterans. Jones then presented the Epsteins with a certificate of gratitude on behalf of the San Marcos City Council.


President Neufeldt, Maj. Gen. Jackson and the Epsteins then cut the ribbon, with members of the Veterans Services team in the background. After the formal program was concluded, refreshments were served and attendees were allowed to tour the refurbished facility.


The Epstein Family Veterans Center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit to learn about campus resources for student veterans.