UCI News

Dani Molina joins UCI as director of the Veteran Services Center

The Army veteran will continue campus commitment for serving veterans

November 12, 2019
Dani Molina joins UCI as director of the Veteran Services Center
UCI’s new director for the Veteran Services Center Dani Molina Steve Zylius, UCI

Irvine, Calif., Nov. 12, 2019 — Dani Molina, Ph.D., has been named director of the Veteran Services Center at the University of California, Irvine, effective Nov. 7, where he will continue the campus’s commitment for providing a welcoming environment for veterans, reservists and their dependents.

“Dr. Molina’s experience both as a veteran and as a director of a veterans resource center at another university make him uniquely qualified to understand our veteran students,” said  Willie Banks, vice chancellor of student affairs. “When you combine those experiences with the fact that Dani pursued higher education after his service in the U.S. Army, and was the first in his family to go to college hits so many touchpoints that give him exceptional knowledge and experience in serving veteran and military-affiliated students.”

UCI’s Veteran Services Center provides assistance in obtaining educational benefits to which veterans are entitled and provides resources and programs to assist veteran students in navigating their transition to civilian and student life. UCI has some 300 student veterans.

“It’s an honor to join UCI to serve prospective and current military-connected students,” said Molina. “I look forward to serving this growing population and working with our campus and community partners to assist military veterans’ transition to our world-class institution.”

Most recently, Molina was the founding director for the Veteran Resource Center at California State University, Los Angeles, where he managed several programs and services centering on supporting the higher education access and success of military-connected students, including active duty, reservists, National Guard, veterans and dependents.

Prior to Cal State LA, Molina worked at the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. As a senior program and research manager, he examined post-9/11 veterans and their higher education experiences. He also managed a portfolio of projects to build higher education resources and support for military-connected people to pursue higher education.

Molina was raised in south Los Angeles and enlisted in the U.S. Army when he was 17. Molina served four years on active duty as a radio operator and participated in the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom before being honorably discharged as a specialist (E-4).

After that, Molina became the first in his family to go to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin American & Latino Studies from UC Santa Cruz, graduating summa cum laude. He received his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in higher education and organizational change from UCLA.

Molina replaces adelí durón, who led the veteran services center for the past 10 years and is now leading the effort to open UCI’s new Latinx Resource Center this winter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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