Cal State San Marcos officials announced that the school received a $1 million donation from the San Diego-based Epstein Family Foundation to support its center for student military veterans.

The money will endow programs and pay for an expansion of the center to double its current size.

“This gift from the Epstein family is truly the difference between accomplishing dreams and merely imagining them,” CSUSM President Karen Haynes said. “Their philanthropy is helping to move our university and our region forward.”

Patricia Reily, center director, said the facility provides “a home away from home” for military-connected students where they can socialize and study in a comfortable, safe environment.

The Veterans Center building opened three years ago, but while it is bigger than what the school used to have, it’s still less than 1,000 square feet in size. Staff is spread across campus, according to school officials.

“Simply put, we are bursting at the seams,” Reily said.

“The number of student veterans served at California State University San Marcos has increased by 400 percent since 2006,” she said. “We pride ourselves on being `high touch’ — that is to say, we get to know our student veterans as individuals so that we can facilitate their success. But it is a challenge to be `high touch’ with our current space constraints.”

No date is set for groundbreaking, but school officials hope to have the expansion project complete by the end of next year.

—City News Service

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