I am pleased to welcome you to my personal blog, which I started in March 2009. I first became interested in blogging about five years ago, using old "blogger.com", which was cumbersome to use and I never mastered. About a year ago I discovered that Google had bought "blogger.com" and had revised it considerably, making it fun to use, so much so that I have devised at least 15 blogs on various subjects and frequently add posts and Gadgets to them.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Go to Shrivenham American University

Sometime in August 1945 while my company was in Gunzburg, Germany, I saw an announcement concerning applications to attend Shrivenham American University in England for a couple months. I quickly applied for this schooling since there was no hope of going home in the near future, and I was accepted quickly. At the time, I was helping with the company Information and Education (I&E) program by teaching a course in general physics, but we were losing students so fast we couldn't continue much longer.

On September 22 the company moved south to Memmingen and very soon I was sent on temporary duty to Munich, where I would board a train to Etretat, France. This train was not the forty-and-eight type I was used to but was intended for seated passengers on facing benches. There were six guys in my compartment, so for a sleeping arrangement there would be one guy in each baggage rack, one guy on each seat, and two guys on the floor. Since we always carried a sleeping bag and blankets, this presented no problem. The trip took two or three days with meal stops at the several facilities the Army had set up along the railroad. From Etretat we boarded a ferry that spent a day or so taking us to Southampton. From there a nice British train took us to Shrivenham, about 70 miles west of London. I was assigned a room on second floor of a large brick dorm with 15 room mates, all of them with previous college experience. I signed up for advanced algebra, German, and appreciation of music; and I selected to play in the band instead of sing in the men's chorus. I don't remember the name of any of the American professors except the band director, Thor Johnson of the Cincinnati Symphony. Classes started on October 8. We had plenty of time to travel on weekends so I went to London several times and to Oxford once.
In early December we reversed the process of traveling back to our units, except that by December my company had gone farther south to Kempten.

I found the next four paragraphs with Google's help:

Drawing upon the experience of the AEF University in 1919, the US Army during WWII prepared an extensive program of immediate postwar educational opportunities for overseas personnel. After hostilities ceased, the Army Education Program established four university centers at Florence, Italy; Shrivenham, England; Biarritz, France; and Oahu, Hawaii. Faculties were drawn from qualified military personnel already overseas and from civilian educators in the U.S. Thousands of qualified soldier-students attended the centers, the first of which began operating at Florence, Jul 1945, and the last at Oahu, Dec 1945. Demobilization and return of overseas troops soon closed the centers, and none remained by Feb 1946.

It seemed too bad that the universities couldn’t live on and on for fresh legions of GIs. But after V-J Day (August 15, 1945) the troopships were no longer heading for the Pacific Theater; they were ferrying us home across the Atlantic and the supply of students dwindled rapidly. SAU closed its doors after two terms, BAU after three. In all, a total of about 18,000 American soldiers, plus guests from 10 other countries, had attended the two schools between July 1945 and March 1946.

Shrivenham was closed after two terms. B.A.U/sorders to shut down were countermanded at the last moment, however, and preparations went forward there for a third term, with a decreased enrollment in prospect.The time of greatest need for the university had passed; the larger part of the great stateside transport operation had been accomplished. I turned the administrative responsibilities of the journalism section over to able, brilliant Max Grossman, of Boston University, and retreated in good order to the Zone of the Interior.

We who served on the faculties of the Army universities found our work, though not without its hardships, one of the most stimulating educational experiences of our lives. We felt that the double project at Shrivenham and Biarritz had been a success from nearly all points of view, and we ourselves learned many things from it. It was a good transition for the students from army back to school; but it was a good preparation, too,for the faculty in dealing with the large numbers of veterans who were soon to flood into our colleges and universities under what was called "the GI Bill of Rights."

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