Hardin-Simmons University is a community based in service. Just look around the campus for visual cues and you will be reminded of the philanthropy and sacrifice of current students, faculty, staff, and past alumni and donors.
Just think: It is the nature of all non-profit organizations to rely on donors for development and growth. Every building on campus, whether still standing or gone with time, was built because someone donated the funds to do so. Each tree and flower, sidewalk, and the pond where the turtles and ducks frolic were added to campus because past community members (typically the wives of past presidents) wanted to create a beautiful campus for students, and as such, they raised the funds for these projects.
Service isn’t just measured monetarily, but with time and devotion. How many students have left the 40 acres to be ministers and laypeople, stationed around the globe? How many students have graduated to become teachers, to educate the next generation? How many faculty and staff have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the success of their students? What about those who have joined the military, in times of war and peace, to serve and protect the country?
On campus you will find memorials dedicated to students and faculty who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice during wartime.
Here is a quick look at the different ways HSU has served her country over the years:
Student Army Training Corps
The Student Army Training Corps was created in response to WWI. Due to the growing conflict overseas, young men needed to be trained and prepared for war in large numbers.
The military base structure we are familiar with today did not exist at this time, and as a result, the War Department took the army and its training to colleges across the country.
Beginning in 1918, Simmons College, along with hundreds of other institutions across the United States, joined this program and military training became a common part of the college culture. Simmons students weren’t the only members of the SATC. Men from Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University) and non-students from the local area slept in makeshift barracks on campus and trained in preparation for war.
World War I (1914-1918)
Both student and faculty left to volunteer or were taken by the draft during WWI. More than 400 men from Simmons served, and thirteen gave their lives. One woman is listed for her service to the Red Cross, named Mildred Cross.
The thirteen who lost their lives are memorialized with the Fort Babe Shaw Memorial, the cannon also known as Arizona Bill, located on the front lawn of campus. Their names are etched in stone for all to see:
Chester A. Adams, Jack Blount. Kenneth Burns, Ennis Camp, Robert Embry, Aubrey Fisher, Allister Goodnight, O.A. Keele, Reed Morris, Frank Martin, Dennis Pumphrey, Stephen Dupree Rainey, and Clyde Shaw
Those who remained at school during this time contributed to the war effort by collecting books, blankets, medical supplies and more to send overseas.
World War II (1939-1945)
There isn’t a memorial dedicated solely to those who participated in WWII on campus, but there is a visual reminder at the HSU Alumni Wall, located behind Sandefer Memorial.
Look at the plaques representing the war years. Notice how small the graduating classes are, and take note of the male to female ratio. It’s apparent the majority of the student body was off serving the country.
In comparison to the war years, look at the boom in graduating numbers once those soldiers came home and returned to school. The GI Bill caused an influx of student enrollment, forcing the school to take drastic measures to accommodate the expanding student body (we’ll discuss that exciting time in another post).
ROTC (Reserves Officers’ Training Corps) is a college-based officer training program that trains and produces commissioned officers of different military branches.
In June 1952, the college established an Army ROTC program. Students could participate in the program at the start of the 1952-1953 school year, up until its disbandment in the spring of 1997.
Students who completed the program would be commissioned at the rank of 2nd lieutenant and begin military careers.
Vietnam War (1955-1975)
In 1969 a flagpole was erected in front of the old ROTC building as a memorial to Major Albert G. Maroscher, who was killed in action in Vietnam April 15, 1968. Maroscher had been an assistant professor at HSU from 1964-67. (This flagpole and commemorating plaque are now on the front lawn of the campus next to the cannon.)
At a time when college campuses across the county were protesting and rioting the Vietnam War, HSU was growing its ROTC department. In 1971 construction on Mabee Hall, a state of the art military science building and the first of its kind in the nation, began.
In 1981 the HSU Student Congress dedicated the large tree on the front lawn to all students who lost their lives serving their country since World War I.
How will you continue the tradition of service after leaving HSU?