SPRINGFIELD, IL – (Effingham Radio) – Gov. Bruce Rauner announced today that Stephen Curda, Ph.D. has been named director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA). He takes over from Elisabeth Pennix, who returns to her duties as IDVA’s General Counsel. The appointment is effective today.
“Stephen Curda is a proven leader with years of experience serving our military and veterans as well as his own deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq,” Rauner said. “He has served over 30 years in the military on active duty, Reserve and the Guard, recently retiring as a Brigadier General. His exceptional work in strategic planning, development and program implementation will positively contribute to the IDVA and provide the best services for our state’s heroes.”
“I am honored and looking forward to serving our veterans in the State of Illinois,” Curda said. “It is a privilege to help provide the best services and programs for our more than 720,000 outstanding military men and women who have given so much for our country.”
Curda comes to the agency on the heels of the General Assembly authorizing $53 million to make repairs to current facilities at the Quincy Veterans’ Home, begin construction on a new, world-class facility, make improvements to the water filtration system, as well as purchase and renovate the Sycamore nursing home.
“We are excited to announce that we will close on the Sycamore nursing home this Friday, June 8,” said Michael Hoffman, the governor’s senior advisor on the Quincy home project. “We will begin renovations immediately to make sure our heroes have a safe place to live while construction is underway on the new, world-class facility.”
The Illinois General Assembly also cleared the way for the project to move through the “design build” construction method, which will shave months off the procurement process and project completion time.
“Following hard work, bipartisan compromise and advocacy for Illinois’ most vulnerable residents, I’m pleased to say that, with a commitment to follow through on our promises, this a budget that is balanced and includes a $53 million investment into repairing the Quincy Veterans’ Home that will fund the campus’ first-year improvements to completion,” said State Senator Jil Tracy (R- Quincy). “It is all of our responsibility to take care of our veterans, and this funding will mean so much to the hundreds of veteran residents and their families in Quincy, who trust and rely on the home for their care and services.”
“The governor has been very proactive on behalf of our veterans, and especially in working to tackle problems and challenges at the aging Quincy Veterans’ Home. As we move forward to rebuild the Quincy campus I am very pleased with the appointment of Stephen Curda, who I know will be an effective partner in this project, and in working with us to provide the best care for all of Illinois’ veterans,” said State Representative Randy Frese (R-Paloma).
“I applaud the General Assembly for working with us to make sure our veterans have the best care possible,” Curda said. “Our new facility will feature cutting-edge technology to ensure we can meet the needs of our veterans of today – those who have served to protect us in the War on Terror.”
Prior to this role, Curda worked as Associate Professor at the National College of Education and Special Assistant to the President for Veterans Education at National Louis University where he worked with veteran students in order to provide a smooth transition from military service to academia and eventually a career in the civilian workforce.
His last military duty was serving as the commander for the 9th Mission Support Command in the U.S. Army Pacific, where he was responsible for 3,600 personnel spread throughout the Pacific from Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Saipan, Japan and Republic of Korea.
Curda earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Arkansas, a Master of Strategic Studies from The Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and a Master of Education in Educational Psychology and a Ph.D. in Educational and Instructional Psychology and Technology from the University of Oklahoma.