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Oct. 1 archives presentation to look back at challenges and opportunities at Syracuse University during war years
Oct. 1 archives presentation to look back at challenges and opportunities at Syracuse University during war yearsSeptember 13, 2005Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Syracuse University in the 1940s and 1950s was an ever-changing place, as the effects of World War II and the Korean War continually shaped the enrollment and social climate of the campus.
In the early 1940s, many students left the University to fight in the war. Once the war was over, veterans began enrolling at SU in significant numbers through the G.I. Bill. This enrollment explosion presented unique challenges to the campus, such as integrating older students to the campus culture and finding classroom space and appropriate housing.
SU archivists Ed Galvin and Mary O’Brien will lead a journey back to that time during a special presentation, “Remembering the G.I. Bulge,” Oct. 1 at 2 p.m., in SU’s Maxwell Auditorium. The presentation, which is free and open to the public, is part of the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Sciences’ War Years Reunion, which is being held Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Parking for the Saturday archives presentation will be available in the Q4 lot on College Place and in any of the University’s visitor lots.
The archives presentation will include images from campus during World War II and the post-war era. Additionally, Suzanne Mettler, Alumni Associate Professor in SU’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, will speak on her new book, “Soldiers to Citizens: The G.I. Bill and the Making of The Greatest Generation,” released last month by Oxford University Press.
A question-and-answer session will follow the presentations, and Mettler will sign copies of her book, which will be available for purchase.
In her book, Mettler explores how the G.I. Bill transformed American society. To its beneficiaries, who grew up during the Depression, the bill provided educational opportunities and a chance to improve their circumstances. The G.I. Bill fueled not only the development of the middle class, it also revitalized American democracy, Mettler says. Americans who came of age during World War II joined fraternal groups and neighborhood and community organizations and took part in politics at rates that made the postwar era the 20th-century’s civic “golden age.”
The War Years Reunion, held Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, has been planned by ECS to bring back together alumni from the Classes of 1940-54 from the former College of Applied Science and College of Engineering (which is now ECS). During the two-day event, participants will reconnect with former classmates, tour campus and learn more about the learning and research that is currently going on within the college.