An image of students in the V-12 Navy College Training Program climbing over a structure on campus in the 1940s
Student Life

Basic Training

By Pippa Jack / April–May 2023
April 12th, 2023

The rhythms of campus life warped and accelerated in the summer of 1942 to support the war effort. Some 700 students enrolled in a summer semester that year with an eye to graduating faster, including 90 percent of the senior class, according to Encyclopedia Brunoniana. The following summer, the V-12 Navy College Training Program, designed to increase the supply of commissioned officers, started at Brown and 130 other institutions, mostly smaller, private colleges. Simple obstacle courses such as that shown above, near Soldier’s Arch, were a keystone of preparing young men for combat. More than 125,000 people would go through the V-12 program around the country by 1946,
helping to offset a sharp decline in higher education enrollment; that first year, 600 of them were at Brown.

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April–May 2023