Honoring the Navy Years
Top, Warren E. Jackson, E46, speaking at dedication ceremonies;
above, John Rogers, A47, is joined by Capt. Conrad Donahue,
commanding officer of the Boston NROTC Consortium (left),
and Capt. Randall Preston, former commanding officer.
A new exhibit at Tisch Library opens the first chapter on an important
story in Tufts history: the three-decade relationship between Tufts
and the United States Navy.
³The U.S. Navy Arrives at Tufts College, 19411945² begins when
President Leonard Carmichael successfully fought for a Naval Reserve
Officer Training Corps (NROTC) program at Tufts.One of only eight
selected nationwide, Tufts took quickly to the new role, drawing
its first 100 enrollees from the incoming Class of 1945 and doubling
that number with the arrival of the Class of 1946.
Then, in the spring of 1943, when the Navy announced a nationwide
officer training program known as the V-12, Tufts College was once
again selected, this time accommodating 1,000 trainees in its first
year. V-12 and NROTC students, as well as students sent to Tufts
from other universities and enlisted sailors from the Atlantic and
Pacific fleets, were placed on active duty. When the program ended
in June 1946, more than 2,000 officer candidates had been trained
at the Tufts campus.
During dedication ceremonies on October 18, Retired Captain Warren
E. Jackson, E46, reminded guests that the memory of those years
and how they transformed the quiet New England campus must be remembered
The exhibit ³is not a memorial to these old sailors who trained
here many years ago,² he said. ³It is to indicate in a permanent
fashion our appreciation for the opportunity the Navy gave us to
attend this institution as part of our wartime service and to the
administration and devoted faculty who guided us. [It] is a tangible
expression of that which was the single greatest activity at Tufts
during the wartime years. We present it to all who pass through
Tisch Library not only to enjoy but to appreciate.²
Jackson is co-chair with John Rogers, A47, of the V-12/ NROTC
Display Cases Committee, a continuation of other similar projects:
a Memorial Terrace between Goddard Chapel and Ballou Hall dedicated
in 1998 and the annual Prize Award for a junior or senior who is
either a direct descendant of a V-12/NROTC graduate of any college
or enrolled in the NROTC program. (Tufts¹ NROTC is today assigned
to a six-college Boston consortium based at MIT.)
The display brought together many artifacts for the first time,
including the original telegram announcing that Tufts had been accepted
as an officer training base and photographs from a scrapbook that
was always outside the Navy captain¹s office. An eagle decal from
a dance card found in the album now also has been called into service
to embellish exhibit labels. The exhibit, to run through March,
is the first of several scheduled for the next three years. It will
be followed by an exhibit that focuses on life on the campus during
the war years.
Patricia Hughes, a graduate student in history and the museum studies
certificate program, designed the exhibit as part of an internship.
For her, seeing the displays take shape was ³a wonderful experience.
At times it was overwhelming because there was so much information.
I hope that this generation of students will understand that we
have to treasure the history of this time at Tufts and what these
people fought for.²
For an online visit to the new Tisch Library exhibit, go to www.library.tufts.edu/archives/exhibits/nrotc.
Contributions of memorabilia are welcome from anyone involved in
the Navy program from 1941 to 1972. Committee members hope to hear
from anyone who participated in NROTC to improve upon its records,
particularly anyone who attended Tufts during the decades after
the war. Please contact Ellie Short, coordinator, at 617-627-3798