February 19, 2009

New Veterans’ Affairs director to speak at SIUC

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The new director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs will speak on Friday, Feb. 20, at the SIU School of Law.

Gov. Pat Quinn appointed Daniel W. Grant as director of the department on Feb. 8. Grant will deliver opening remarks at a conference titled “Military Service & the Law,” set for 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus. The seminar is aimed at attorneys interested in providing pro bono legal services for active duty military personnel, their families or veterans.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the conference. To make arrangements for interviews, contact Alicia Ruiz, director of communications for the SIU School of Law, at 618/453-8700.

The seminar is part of the law school’s Veterans’ Legal Assistance Program, which it started last summer. The program assists veterans with disability appeals. Participants can earn continuing education credits.

John F. Lynn, assistant dean for administration at the law school, said he is pleased Grant will be participating.

“Taking the time out of his busy schedule to recognize the work we are doing with Illinois' veterans and to provide any insight into new directions or emphasis of his office are truly appreciated,” Lynn said. “The students and staff of the SIU School of Law Veterans' Legal Assistance Program, along with our counterparts from John Marshall Law School, look forward to the visit and welcome the director.”

L. Tammy Duckworth, former director of the department, originally was scheduled to speak at the event. President Obama recently nominated Duckworth as assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

A decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a captain in the Illinois National Guard, Grant is a strong advocate for veterans’ issues. He testified before House and Senate committees and supported access to health care, education, employment and housing. He is a graduate of West Point and grew up in Allen Park, Mich.

Grant currently resides with his family in Chicago.