$12 million will be used for the project aimed at helping veterans readjust. It's something simple for many vets.
"We were in a house. We started receiving contact when a grenade came in the window."
Five years ago, Travis Dodson was serving in Iraq when a grenade blast killed one of his friends.
"I just remember looking down and seeing what had happened to me. Everyone was on top of me trying to help me."
Then, reality hit. Dodson would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, but didn't spend one minute feeling sorry for himself. He came back to the U.S. and got right to work.
"Going back to school helps. You reinvent yourself into a new person. It gives you a drive and a motivation."
He's a junior at UI.
"They're trying to help veterans succeed in college, not just bring them into college and we get lost along the way. Maybe we drop out because we didn't know we had help and so many different programs."
Here's one of the newest. This is what the Veteran Education Center will look like. It will offer 24-hours support with counseling and academic help.
"I've really enjoyed coming to college and getting on with my life. Those who bare the battle, who are on the front lines, it's our duty as citizens to take care of those who have born the battle."
The new center will help Dodson reach the finish line.
"I'd like to work with athletes and help them. More performance-based nutrition is what I'm interested in."
This vet might not have his legs, but he has the support of everyone around him. That keeps him thankful.
"Alright, your life is pretty good. You got it pretty good."
The UI hopes to break ground this spring. It will be up and running by fall 2014. An army veteran gave a charity pledge of $6 million to build the center.