Tufts Alumni

Honoring the Navy Years

Top, Warren E. Jackson, E46, speaking at dedication ceremonies; above, John Rogers, A47, is joined by Capt. Conrad Donahue, commanding officer of the Boston NROTC Consortium (left), and Capt. Randall Preston, former commanding officer.

A new exhibit at Tisch Library opens the first chapter on an important story in Tufts history: the three-decade relationship between Tufts and the United States Navy.

³The U.S. Navy Arrives at Tufts College, 1941­1945² begins when President Leonard Carmichael successfully fought for a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) program at Tufts.One of only eight selected nationwide, Tufts took quickly to the new role, drawing its first 100 enrollees from the incoming Class of 1945 and doubling that number with the arrival of the Class of 1946.

Then, in the spring of 1943, when the Navy announced a nationwide officer training program known as the V-12, Tufts College was once again selected, this time accommodating 1,000 trainees in its first year. V-12 and NROTC students, as well as students sent to Tufts from other universities and enlisted sailors from the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, were placed on active duty. When the program ended in June 1946, more than 2,000 officer candidates had been trained at the Tufts campus.

During dedication ceremonies on October 18, Retired Captain Warren E. Jackson, E46, reminded guests that the memory of those years and how they transformed the quiet New England campus must be remembered and honored.

The exhibit ³is not a memorial to these old sailors who trained here many years ago,² he said. ³It is to indicate in a permanent fashion our appreciation for the opportunity the Navy gave us to attend this institution as part of our wartime service and to the administration and devoted faculty who guided us. [It] is a tangible expression of that which was the single greatest activity at Tufts during the wartime years. We present it to all who pass through Tisch Library not only to enjoy but to appreciate.²

Jackson is co-chair with John Rogers, A47, of the V-12/ NROTC Display Cases Committee, a continuation of other similar projects: a Memorial Terrace between Goddard Chapel and Ballou Hall dedicated in 1998 and the annual Prize Award for a junior or senior who is either a direct descendant of a V-12/NROTC graduate of any college or enrolled in the NROTC program. (Tufts¹ NROTC is today assigned to a six-college Boston consortium based at MIT.)

The display brought together many artifacts for the first time, including the original telegram announcing that Tufts had been accepted as an officer training base and photographs from a scrapbook that was always outside the Navy captain¹s office. An eagle decal from a dance card found in the album now also has been called into service to embellish exhibit labels. The exhibit, to run through March, is the first of several scheduled for the next three years. It will be followed by an exhibit that focuses on life on the campus during the war years.

Patricia Hughes, a graduate student in history and the museum studies certificate program, designed the exhibit as part of an internship. For her, seeing the displays take shape was ³a wonderful experience. At times it was overwhelming because there was so much information. I hope that this generation of students will understand that we have to treasure the history of this time at Tufts and what these people fought for.²

For an online visit to the new Tisch Library exhibit, go to www.library.tufts.edu/archives/exhibits/nrotc.

Contributions of memorabilia are welcome from anyone involved in the Navy program from 1941 to 1972. Committee members hope to hear from anyone who participated in NROTC to improve upon its records, particularly anyone who attended Tufts during the decades after the war. Please contact Ellie Short, coordinator, at 617-627-3798 or eleanor.short@tufts.edu.







© 2001 Trustees of Tufts University, all rights reserved.