Veterans Affairs counselor at HPU helps in the transition to student life

September 17, 2013

HONOLULU — Hawai‘i Pacific University, recently recognized as the state's most military friendly university, expanded its commitment to veterans who are transitioning to academic life. The Department of Veterans Affairs selected HPU for its innovative VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program, which places VA counselors on campus. HPU is one of only 94 schools nationwide participating in this VA program.

Veteran students can now visit HPU's Military Veterans Center to see full-time Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Counselor Gwen Dang. 

Gwen Dang
Gwen Dang

“HPU’s Military/Veteran Center and the services HPU provides to military and veteran students are already recognized among the very best in the nation. This adds another dimension of support that is available to HPU veteran students to assist them with the transition from the university into the workforce," said HPU Military Campus Programs Interim Dean Justin Vance. 

Dang is well-qualified to assist veteran students. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Human Development and a Master of Education in Counseling and Guidance – Rehabilitation. She is a certified rehabilitation counselor and a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Hawai‘i. She retired from the Hawai‘i state Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, after 31 years as a vocational rehabilitation counselor.

“VetSuccess on Campus is an innovative approach to help veterans in the often difficult transition from military service to academic life,” said VA’s Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. “Placing experienced VA counselors directly on college campuses strengthens VA’s partnership with institutions of higher learning and creates myriad opportunities to help veterans succeed.”

“Having this Veteran Affairs professional imbedded here at HPU along with our staff already dedicated to helping our veteran students achieve their educational and professional goals will be a very valuable resource,” added Vance.

HPU serves more than 2,500 veterans and active duty service members and was recently named to the Military Friendly Schools list published by Victory Media. HPU has also garnered the prestigious Institution Award from the Council of College and Military Educators and the “military-friendly university” designation by Military Advanced Education magazine. It continues to be a participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a partnership between the university and the Department of Veteran Affairs, to supplement the tuition benefit of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

HPU’s Military/Veterans Center is located at the Downtown Honolulu campus at 1164 Bishop Street, Suite 912. The center provides certification for veterans benefits, transition and academic counseling and referrals for other services such as behavioral health and career assistance. Contact HPU’s Military/Veterans Center at or (808) 356-5222.