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Indiana University

Unknown #3

This reel depicts Wells giving a speech in front of the Memorial Union at the dedication of the University's service flag on August 22, 1943. Ward Biddle, then Vice President and Treasurer of the University, stands at Wells' side. The flag depicts a gold star with "52" written underneath it and a blue star with "5344" written below it. The gold star represents the IU men and women known to have already died in the war, and the blue star represents those currently in service. The audience is comprised of students wearing army uniforms.

IU took a very active role during the war in preparing students to serve their country as they completed their studies on campus. IU was one of the numerous public universities all over the country to add specialized training programs to their cirriculum in the early 1940s. Among those programs offered at IU were the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP), the Naval V-1, V-5, and V-7 programs for medical, aviation, and dental students, the WAVES Naval program for women, and even a Marine Corps program. [Click here to see a home movie by an IU alumni, George "Dixie" Heighway, that shows WAVES marching around the IU campus two years earlier:]

As WWII wrapped up, IU was one of the universities that made veteran's education a top priority. A survey published in the New York Times on December 20, 1944 revealed that approximately 500,000 army men alone planned to return to school full-time after the war was over; the GI Bill would help them achieve this goal. Some had begun college and were interrupted by the onset of the war. Others had not yet begun their postsecondary studies. President Wells formed a committee to oversee veterans' transition to, or back to, higher education and to ensure that it was as smooth as possible.

You can view photographs from the flag dedication ceremony here and here

Click an image to watch a movie.

Indiana University