CHICAGO – August 5, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today appointed Erica Borggren as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. An Illinois native and Army Veteran, Borggren previously served as a senior staff member for Army Gen. David H. Petraeus. She replaces fellow Iraq war Veteran Dan Grant, who is leaving to pursue a post-graduate degree. Today’s action is the latest in a series of appointments the Governor is making as he continues to fulfill his commitment to serving Illinois’ Veterans.
“Time and again, Erica Borggren has shined in the armed forces,” Governor Quinn said. “Her outstanding service makes her an excellent choice to lead the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs as it fulfills its mission to serve the brave men and women who have sacrificed for this country. I thank Dan Grant for his hard work and am confident this department will continue to excel in its achievements.”
Borggren served as a senior staffer and speechwriter for Gen. Petraeus during his time as Commanding General of multi-national forces in Iraq and as head of United States Central Command throughout the Middle East. For her service in these missions, Borggren was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star as well as the Joint Service Achievement and Iraq Campaign Medals. She returned home to Illinois from the Middle East in 2009.
"I am deeply grateful to Governor Quinn for this opportunity to serve those who have served our country in uniform,” Borggren said. “As a daughter of Illinois and a veteran who is committed to a life of public service, I am thrilled to have the chance to work with and for Illinois’ Veteran community."
Prior to her time in the Middle East, Borggren served in the United States Army Medical Service Corps in Yongsan, South Korea, rising as an officer in the 18th Medical Command to a Company Commander at the 121 Combat Support Hospital, for which she was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
Following her graduation as valedictorian from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, she was designated as a Rhodes Scholar and the recipient of a Truman Scholarship. She later earned a master’s degree in comparative social policy from Oxford University. Borggren currently resides with her husband Erik, a West Point graduate and chaplain candidate in the Illinois National Guard, and their son Ethan in Chicago.
Under Dan Grant’s leadership, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs spearheaded legislation to improve benefits for Veterans, including the Illinois Higher Education Veterans Act and the Illinois Educational Opportunity for Military Children Act. Grant was successful in significantly increasing census counts at the LaSalle and Manteno Veterans’ Homes, and he helped clear the way for the Chicago Veterans’ Home. Grant also administered more than $4 million in grants from Veterans Cash lottery ticket and was key to the establishment of Veterans courts across Illinois.