UGA Student Veterans Historical Timeline
Two of UGA’s most famous students include Henry L. Benning and John B. Gordon. Benning graduated from UGA in 1834 and Gordon unexpectedly dropped out in 1852, but both men later became generals in the Confederate Army. Today, Forts Benning and Gordon, Georgia bear their names.
The University reopened on January 5, 1866 after being closed since 1863 (Dyer, 106-107, 110).
The Georgia Assembly approved veteran legislation to “‘educate the indigent maimed soldiers of Georgia…’ The legislation intended to provide teacher training for soldiers who because of their war injuries could not hold jobs requiring extensive physical activity.” This bill allowed veterans of the war to attend the university with free tuition, books, board, and tutoring, but required teach veteran to teach for the same number of years that he receive schooling (Dyer, 112).
Nearly 100 veterans, or about 60% of UGA’s total enrollment during the Civil War, enrolled at University High School, later called the “Rock College” (Dyer, 112).
All but one member of the graduating class of 1919 served in the U.S. Navy or Army during WWI and had returned to their studies when peace was declared (UGA; Pandora Yearbook).
Memorial Hall was built to honor the 47 UGA graduates who died in World War I. An inscription within the building reads, “In loyal love we set apart this house, a memorial to those lovers of peace who took arms, left home and dear ones and gave life that all men might be free.”
The U.S. Navy built several new buildings on campus (Dyer, 243) and operated a Pre-Flight School at the University of Georgia Campus. As one of only five such schools in the nation, the program trained approximately 20,000 cadets in the skills needed as combat pilots in the Pacific Theater. The Navy utilized most of the existing campus and built numerous buildings and athletic facilities used by the college in later years.
UGA’s policy on students departing their studies for World War II was: “Any student who left for service would be permitted to resume his education after the war ‘as nearly as possible at the point where it was interrupted’” (Dyer, 243-244).
President Roosevelt outlined a program for “smoothing the assimilation of large numbers of veterans into postwar society,” which become the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 or simply the GI Bill (Dyer, 249).
In response to the legislation, UGA Chancellor Sanford advocated curricular adjustment and plans for a “postwar university” as well as a change in the university mission that encouraged a “much-expanded role in areas of research and public service” (Dyer, 251).
UGA Student Veterans created the University Veterans Association (Dyer, 258).
There were 6,643 UGA students, 65% were veterans. Some of these Student Veterans created the Student Veterans’ Organization (SVO) (Dyer, 255, 258).
UGA formed the veteran’s division of the university and The Veterans Guidance Center (Dyer, 256-257).
The Veterans Guidance Center became the University Guidance Center because many veterans had graduated from the university and the center’s leadership saw value in providing the same career development and guidance to non-veteran students (Dyer, 257).
The U.S. Navy opened the U.S. Navy Supply School where the “Normal School” formerly resided.
UGA students actively demonstrated against the Vietnam War and some protestors attempted to burn down the “military building” (ROTC building) on campus on at least five separate occasions.
Lumpkin Road, adjacent to the Terry College of Business, was dedicated as a “Blue Star Memorial By-Way, a tribute to the Armed Forces of America Azalea District and The Garden Club of Georgia, National Garden Clubs, Inc.”
UGA’s Memorial Garden and adjacent Book of Remembrance honors “University students, faculty, staff and alumni who have fallen in defense of democracy and their country.” Located just outside the north tower of the Student Learning Center , the garden features a large inscribed and an unbroken circle of granite symbolizing life, memory, continuity and wholeness.
The U.S. Navy Supply Corps School became the UGA’s Health-Science Campus, which is now home to the College of Public Health and the Georgia Health Sciences University – UGA Medical Partnership.
The Student Veterans Resource Center (SVRC) was established under the Office of the Dean of Students.
UGA opened a new SVRC office and the First Data Student Veterans Lounge in the Tate Center.
Today, the SVRC forges meaningful partnerships across the university on behalf of the institution’s nearly 250 student veterans. SVRC is committed to continue growing and strengthening its cache of programs and services to ensure that all student veterans are poised for success during their time on campus and beyond.