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January 31, 2017

World War I - summary of WRU campus activity in Spring 1917

The United States officially entered World War I on 4/6/1917. This galvanized actions at Western Reserve University (WRU) and Case School of Applied Science (CSAS).

President Charles F. Thwing
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In the WRU President’s Annual Report for 1916/1917, President Thwing wrote:

“The most outstanding feature of the second part of the academic year is found in the war. Until the declaration of a state of war with Germany was made by the President, the interest of the students in the world-conflict was not great. With the making of the declaration, interest was quickened. The interest of the student community, however, was constantly much greater than that of the general. In this condition, it was the endeavor of the Faculty - an endeavor which still abides - and of the administrative officers, first , to make and maintain the devotion of all students to their immediate duties, and secondly, to recognize with fullness and propriety their relation to their larger fellowship, national and international. The reconciliation and co-working of these two aims has not always been easy, but I think it may be justly affirmed that these two objects have been well ordered and fittingly co-ordinated.

“In respect to the great conflict, the Faculty of Adelbert College have passed these votes:

‘That every possible encouragement by given to the immediate inauguration of voluntary military training among the students, that steps be taken to secure military instructors at once for the remainder of the college year, and that we recommend to the Board of Trustees the appropriation of funds necessary to secure such instructors;

‘That some form of systematic physical training under the direction of the department of Physical Training be required of all students for the remainder of the college year, with the view to making our students physically fit for military service;

‘That in the event of a declaration of war and a call for volunteers by the President of the United State, it be suggested to the Athletic Association of the University that inter-collegiate spring sports be abandoned;

‘That it be recommended to the Trustees that students who enlist and are accepted by the government for service in any branch of warfare be given credit for the remainder of the year;

‘That Commencement exercises of a simple nature be held May 10th or 11th for all Seniors in good standing;

‘That compulsory military training be adopted in Adelbert College for the ensuing year;

‘That for the balance of the present college year the executive committee be authorized to grant leave of absence with credit only to students enrolled in military and Red Cross organizations, and that such leave begin upon receipt of mobilization orders, unless in the judgment of the executive committee earlier leave ought in fairness to be granted in individual cases in order to permit students to visit their homes or to adjust their personal affairs before mobilization;

‘That the executive committee be authorized to reduce the examination period to the shortest time possible consistent with the best interests of the students and the College.’

The significance of these actions is made more impressive by reason of the great number of the students of Adelbert College and the Law School who have enrolled, and also of the formation and departure of the Lakeside Hospital unit. The number of men, who have entered the army, navy, and other service, is in Adelbert College one hundred and sixty-two, and in the Law School fifty-four. The staff of the School of Medicine is represented in the Lakeside Hospital Unit by twelve men.

“These bare figures are replete with meaning. They represent the supreme fact that in the hour of the crises of the nation, or of the nations, the college youths are the first to respond. This University is simply repeating in its way the experience through which American Colleges, both north and south, passed at the time of the Civil War and also through which the universities of England, of France, and of Germany, are passing in the course of the present conflict. This result is not surprising. The highest motives, the noblest purposes, make the most important and strongest appeal to men of the worthiest type.”

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Officers of the first American contingent to arrive in Europe, General Hospital No. 9 (Lakeside Hospital unit)


Spring 1917 activity on the Case campus will appear next month.

Posted by hxy2 at January 31, 2017 08:11 PM

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