Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

was one of many evidences that a democracy is a blundering and slow-moving type of government in wartime, the brief period of military training was valuable discipline to many of the young men who participated in it. For the Institute the interlude was a disrupting influence. Not only did it injure college finances and upset the curriculum, but it took from the campus several key instructors and many capable undergraduates, a large number of whom either did not return or were thrown out of step for the remainder of the course.

Dr. Hollis, in an address to the alumni in March, 1919, summed up the S. A. T. C. in this fashion: "So far as we were concerned I do not think it was a success. There was so much correspondence on the subject and so many orders issued that we did not know exactly where we stood. Furthermore, the interferences by the War Department extended at first into everything, and we could not carry on instruction seriously. It grew to be a habit on the part of the students to say that this was a military camp and not an educational institution. Instinctively the students were thus entirely in the right: this plan of training students for the army was not for the benefit of education or for the relief of the colleges; it was an emergency measure for the training of officers. When one stops to think of the enormous demand for efficient officers in the armies crossing to France it is easy to see why the Committee on Education could not think of the benefit to colleges so much as of the benefit to the army. I should call the whole plan a failure both from the academic point of view and from the military point of view, but it must be kept in mind that we do not know how great a success it might have been if the war had lasted."


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Last Modified: Fri Jul 30 11:15:25 EDT 1999