Isolation and Contribution
Chancellor Boucher advised neutrality, and the majority of students followed him, to begin with. Although there was much talk of the events in Europe, student life as a whole did not change, and enrollment remained steady. After the horror of World War I, few students were eager for more bloodshed. In 1941, when a group of faculty called for action in Europe, students insisted that they were “old men gambling with young mens’ lives.”
Once the United States joined in the fight against the Axis powers in 1941, (after December 7th, for that matter,) enrollment for the university sank, despite Boucher’s urgings to “carry on” as normal. Many young men, especially freshmen, enlisted or were drafted. Upperclassmen were advised to hurry and graduate. ROTC held ever-increasing importance, and at times trumped other university concerns. The U.S. military established a quarter system for classes in order to speed up graduation rate, and also urged Boucher to allow new courses that were war-specific, such as defense engineering. The University became a site of the Army Specialized Training program, and had cadets housed in Love Library. Students collected materials such as rubber and tin for the war effort. World War II took much of the attention of the university through the Duration.