Published 05/15/13

150 years of veterans

Excerpted from the Summer 2013 edition of Bryant magazine

Bryant’s unique 150-year history of growth and innovation can be traced back to when Civil War veterans wisely sought to invest their “mustering out” pay in a Bryant education. In 1863, veterans rarely met the rigid entrance requirements for liberal arts colleges, which included knowledge of Latin and Greek. Bryant welcomed them into a program requiring a commitment of only several months.

The post-World War I era brought a flood of veterans to Bryant. World War II, however, changed the college dramatically. In 1942, a supplement to the college catalog described courses to prepare people to step into civilian jobs left by drafted men and new jobs arising from war needs.

Later, a pamphlet, “Calling All G.I.s,” informed veterans of educational opportunities for them. Vice President and Director of Admissions E. Gardner Jacobs ’22 devised a “refresher program” for veterans that provided an intensive review of mathematics, English, and bookkeeping. Admissions counselors placed pamphlets in veterans’ centers informing them about this program and other advantages at Bryant. After 1945, enrollment rose, reaching 3,000 in 1949.

Many Bryant alumni served the nation during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953, and later, during the war in Vietnam, which became the big issue on college campuses across the nation in the late 1960s. At Bryant, faculty and administrators were generally sensitive to students’ feelings and respectful of their desire to educate themselves on U. S. foreign policy and the war, and the Bryant community passed through the period with dignity and respect for all individuals involved.

Supporting veterans today

In 2012, Bryant was named one of the country’s Military Friendly Schools by G.I. Jobs, a magazine for military personnel transitioning into civilian life. As a Yellow Ribbon school, Bryant works closely with the Veterans Administration to ensure that qualified veterans obtain their maximum benefit to assist with tuition, housing, and miscellaneous costs. Over the course of the last academic year, 31 students at Bryant used veteran benefits.

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)

Bryant offers students the opportunity to participate in the Patriot Battalion Army ROTC Program. “The resources and support that Bryant provides to the battalion are instrumental to the development of our Cadets into the future leaders of our Army,” says U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Kevin Kugel, Professor of Military Science.