A School of Patriots

A century ago, the world was at war. The United States’ 1917 entry into World War I rippled across the country leaving its mark, certainly on families, but also on institutions of higher learning, including the University of Tennessee.

According to the 1919 Volunteer yearbook, around 1,600 students and alumni served in the Great War. Life at the university slowed considerably as attendance fell from more than 800 students to fewer than 500. Campus growth and the use of a $1 million appropriation were put on hold, and the “entire plant” of the school was offered to federal authorities along with the service of President Brown Ayres and the faculty to aid with any US Army plans.

Of the 27 students and alumni who gave their lives, 13 did so in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in northeastern France, the success of which, when combined with the Hundred Day Offensive, contributed heavily to the end of the war in November 1918.

The editors of the 1919 yearbook paid tribute to those who served in an article titled “School of Patriots.” Of those who gave their lives it was written, “They typified the consummation of the true ‘Volunteer’ spirit which we hope to see eternally shining through the windows of our institution to lead the State itself toward the higher ideals and greater accomplishments, and toward its true place in this great American Commonwealth.”

During Homecoming activities in 1934, the Alumni Memorial Building was dedicated to the 27 who died as well as four who perished in the Spanish-American War. A tablet with all of their names still resides in the building.

Read the article “School of Patriots” in the 1919 Volunteeer yearbook.

UT World War I Casualties

Robert Shearer Brown
C.G. Carter
Patrick Belmont Earle
William Hugh Eckel
William Dean Harris
Tom Goddard
Bruce Porter Hinkle
Chester Hinkley Kennedy
Felan White Kilgore
Frederick Miller Key
Richard F. Kirkpatrick
Frank Stanton Latham Jr.
Ballard C. Lynch
Richard Calvin McCalla
Rolfe Moody
Charles Milton Morris
Norwin B. Norris
George Arthur Ogle
E.B. Pascall
Edward Taylor Patton
R.H. Puckett
Roy H. Trezevant
Charles Latham Underwood
David Graham Vance
Thomas S. Weaver
Gilbert M. Wilkinson
Carrick Heiskell Yeager

Photo by Andi Pomeroy

UT 225th anniversaryThis story is part of the University of Tennessee’s 225th anniversary celebration. Volunteers light the way for others across Tennessee and throughout the world.

Learn more about UT’s 225th anniversary

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