"You are entering college under unusual circumstances.  The War, with its variety of demands and opportunities, has lured young people away from the main necessity of their lives, which is to prepare themselves adequately for the days to come.  The uncertainties of the future also are distracting.   Both government officials and educators, however, unite in urging young people to get as much education as possible, both for your own sake and for the sake of your country."
Fred P. Corson in the 1942-43 Dickinson College Handbook

World War II changed many facets of domestic life throughout the United States of America.  The effects of these changes still resonate in all sectors of American society.  It cannot be ignored that numerous social, political and economic institutions throughout the country had to make various adjustments to adapt as a nation at war.  American colleges and universities provide a solid context for the examination and interpretation of these changes  World War II induced.  Dickinson College, a small liberal arts college in Central Pennsylvania, went through a number of transformations as a result of the outbreak of World War II.  Perhaps the most visible of these alterations was the establishment of the Thirty-Second College Training Detachment.  This Air Corps' program was officially initiated on March 1st, 1943 when "the War Department discovered that there were not available sufficient military training facilities to expand its aviation personnel.  It, therefore, called upon the Liberal Arts colleges and universities to give training in the basic academic subjects." (1)

As a result of Dickinson's "outstanding reputation," it was chosen as one of the 281 schools to partake in this government funded program.  Generally speaking, Dickinson was extremely proud of the part which it took in the war effort, "... proud that she has been able to serve the country in this latest venture.  We need no better proof of the effectiveness of such a program than to pick up a newspaper and see for ourselves the splendid work that the Army Air Corps is doing.  Sharing in this vast program has been a rich experience accompanied by a justifiable sense of a job well done." (2)  The Thirty-Second College Training Detachment changed the history of Dickinson, having numerous effects on the social, political and economic life of the College.  This study examines that impact.

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Front Page

Introduction Dickinson and World War II Establishment Termination Remembrance Conclusion