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From the Battlefield to the Classroom

veterans

Albright Veterans Club
(photo from the 1948 yearbook)

Front row (left to right): Good, Engle, Pringle, McLaughlin, Swope, Morgan, Filder, Nahm, J. Moyer, R.Miller. Second row: Crawford, Lamberson, E. Davis, Crozier, G. Lakow, Reeser, Brusch, Allen, W. Boyer, Koehler, Kenner, Himmelberger. Third row: Kopp, Reeves, Bower, Woodring, G. Bailey, Pullis, Harp, Carson, Woynarowski, Walb, Mull. Fourth row: Haller, Snook, Marlow, Killian, Tucci, Lieb, Rowe, Werner, Liddicoat, Diaz, Ansbach, Wolf, Manzolillo, Harper. Fifth row: Cocking, Zimmerman, Krecker, Chelius, Anlian, Mallow, LaRue, Evans, Diehm, Coleman, Reed, Sokol, D. Voigt, Hayum, Potts. Sixth row: Siefert, D. Johnson, W. Miller, Braun, D. Rottermel, Witman, Stewart, H. Lebo, Henry, Winter, Markowitz

They traded guns for books, uniforms for slacks, trenches for dormitories and uncertainty for the future. In the spring and summer of 1946 young veterans returned home from war ready to experience college life. College attendances throughout the country swelled as institutions opened wide their doors to the returning youth.

For many veterans the adjustment from military service to college life was not an easy one. "It was a difficult adjustment at first and made me wish I had finished up before I went into service," says Warren Engle ’48. To them, the country was different and so were the families and friends they left behind. The numerous veterans at Albright turned to each other for support and formed the Albright Veterans Club in 1946.

The constitution of the Veterans Club set forth to, "perpetuate the memory of the alumni of Albright College who made the supreme sacrifice that this nation might live in peace…to preserve the memories and incidents of their associations in World War II…to supplement, through counseling and fellowship the rehabilitation of their comrades at Albright College."

The 357 veterans attending Albright at the time used the Veterans Club as a means of gaining information and assistance concerning termination of benefits, pending G.I. legislation, tutoring and counsel through various stages of college life such as orientation and college traditions.

The College also did all it could to support its new class of veterans. "Albright was 100 percent supportive of the club," says Engle. Both Albright and its veterans learned and gained valuable things from each other. According to Discovery and Promise: A History of Albright College; "Veterans brought with them a maturity and singleness of purpose which helped them to do superior academic work. They provided the best student bodies colleges had experienced for decades."

The members of the Veterans Club were active on campus and also joined other colleges for the greater benefit of all veterans. In 1947 members of the Veterans Club joined veterans from colleges in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland at the Student Veterans Coordinating Committee, held at the University of Pennsylvania, to discuss bills pending before Congress.

According to the 1948 Cue, "The overall purpose of this club is to promote patriotism and Americanism with a zeal equal to that with which they demonstrated and defended during our crucial period of war."

The men and women of the Veterans Club approached every aspect of their lives with zeal. The return of these young veterans to colleges across the country saw the beginning of one of the most prosperous times in recent American history. They survived a world war and their willingness to learn and grow propelled America into the "golden age" of the 1950s.

-- Amy M. Buzinski ’03

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