Whitney Hale

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College: Libraries

Sesquicentennial Series: From the Battlefield to the Classroom

Published: Nov 12, 2012

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 12, 2012) — In celebration of the University of Kentucky's upcoming sesquicentennial in 2015, the 32nd of 150 weekly installments on the university remembers the work of the UK Veterans Club.

 

Founded on Nov. 28, 1944, the UK Veterans Club started with nine members paying their dues of one dollar to found the organization. The stated purpose of the club was to promote the causes and protect the interests of veterans attending the university.

 

The club's motto was a quote by George Washington, "When we assumed the role of soldier, we did not lay aside the role of citizen." The club lived by their motto as it worked as a liaison between individual veterans and the university.

 

The organization of the club included a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, housing committee, steering committee, radio committee, social committee and women's division.

 

The UK Veterans Club provided many services for student veterans, including housing drives, in which more than 600 living spaces were located for veterans, a free employment service, and a loan service using club funds. The club promoted veterans issues through their publication, the POSTwarrior, and their weekly radio program.

 

The club also worked on veterans' rights on the national level, corresponding with members of Congress and successfully lobbying for the increase of subsistence payments for veterans attending school, as provided by the G.I. Bill.

 

Though the UK Veterans Club was one of the youngest organizations on campus, it enjoyed the distinction of being the second largest club by 1947, with 2,500 members. The club presidents included Rx M. Turley, 1944-1945; Joseph C. Covington, 1945-1947; Howard C. Bowles, 1946-1947; C. Hoge Hockensmith, 1947-1948; and Sidney A. Neal, 1948-1949. Club members decided to inactivate the organization in the fall of 1949 due to a lessening of veteran attendance at the university. While the Veterans Club existence was brief, its accomplishments were great and aided in the transition from soldier to student for thousands of veterans at the University of Kentucky.

 

Today, UK is home to a Veterans Resource Center and two student organizations for veterans. The Veterans Resource Center's goal is to ensure that a veteran's transition to college is as smooth as possible. The center's Veterans Resource Team is comprised of professionals from several departments across campus, all with the common goal of helping UK veterans accomplish their academic mission.

 

The UK Student Veterans Association (UKSVA) is comprised of student veterans dedicated to the recruitment, education and support of all veterans attending the university. Honoring Our Military Everywhere (HOME) is a student organization that supports our troops both at home and abroad.

 

This story on UK's history is presented by UK Special Collections. Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716 or whitney.hale@uky.edu

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