Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (MALA)
When the United States first joined World War I it had long been without a large standing army, it soon became apparent that there was a need for soldiers and training facilities. To solve this problem, the United States utilized colleges and universities as training camps. Because of its strong military tradition, Louisiana State University (LSU) was mobilized for this purpose. Although this mobilization was a serious turning point in the school’s development, not many scholars have written histories of the changes during this time. LSU began as the Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana in 1860, but soon changed its name to the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy. The Board of Supervisors pushed for the change because it felt a military system would produce a high level of education and discipline and repay the state by providing military knowledge to its young men. Its first superintendent, William Tecumseh Sherman, and faculty began the long tradition of mixing military discipline with strong academic education. This tradition served LSU well when Congress enacted The National Defense Act of 1916. It standardized military training at colleges and universities through the creation of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and later its replacement, the Student Army Training Corps (SATC). LSU experienced an easy transition to a military training facility. Mobilization at LSU changed the campus experience. Because many students left to join the fight, student organizations, athletics, commencement, and other activities were adversely impacted with the decreased enrollment. Additional changes included inclusion of war courses in the curriculum, planting campus war gardens, implementing food conservation, fundraising for the war effort, and assisting the Red Cross. Since WWI was a technical war, the government called on faculty to lend their expertise and knowledge in various ways, such as public speaking to gain support for the war, working in military and government agencies, or answering the call to colors.
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Fleming, Angela Michelli, "Louisiana State University During World War I: A Military Tradition" (2017). LSU Master's Theses. 4505.
Hamilton, John Maxwell