By Paige Kube
Elm Staff Writer
The Awards Committee of the Washington College Alumni Association seeks to recognize the service of WC alumni by compiling a list of past and current students that served in the military wartime.
For years WC has kept careful track of the activities of previous students such as Sophie Kerr winners, Athletic Hall of Fame inductees, and fraternities sororities member. Although there are a couple of bronze plaques on campus honoring alumni who have served in the military during wartime, there has never been a comprehensive list anywhere on campus.
Bruce Alexander, chair of the Awards Committee of the Alumni Board and WC graduate of ‘94, explains the intent of the Alumni Veterans project.
“The Awards Committee has been receiving information on alumni who have served that dates back as far as the War of 1812. It is an important piece of the history of Washington College, and we are constantly uncovering more alumni who have served in a foreign or domestic war. Our goal is to honor alumni and current students who have served their country in a war just as we honor members of the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame.”
Two years ago an alumnus commented on the lack of military recognition, causing President Baird Tipson to search for a solution. Judith Barroll, director of alumni programs, presented this idea to the Alumni Board Committee. She said, “The project was immediately embraced by the Committee and they have been working on the project
The Committee has been focused on completing this extensive list for the past two years. In addition to Alexander and Barroll, The Committee includes Glen Beebe, Roland Fornoff, Rob Savidge. Former Chair, Kathy Oakley Durkee and former member Eleanor Shriver Magee have also worked very hard on this project over the last couple of years.
The Committee meets three or four times a year and has slowly spread the word of their search for WC alumni.
Regardless of the few Committee members, the seven embarked on the daunting search with high hopes, knowing the biggest challenge wasn’t in their numbers, but rather where to begin.
Blank said, “Nowhere on our student records is there an indication of military service. Now, as we uncover alumni veterans, a record is created in our Datatel system by Kate Goldberg, director of Advancement Services so that we now have the information archived.”
The Awards Committee has placed notices in the Alumni Magazine asking for information on classmates who served in the military.
“We rely on other alumni, spouses or family members to send us obituaries on our own alumni.”
Barroll said, “Often times it’s through those documents that we have uncovered another alum who has served.”
The list of alumni veterans is now on the website http://www.washcoll.edu/alumni/veterans.php, and the Committee encourages alumni to contact us with corrections and additions. “Before the end of the year the committee hopes to have a comprehensive list that we can frame and place in a prominent spot on campus. The list would be up-dated once a year with additions and or corrections as details are uncovered.”
This compiled list will require constant revisions and additions. As Barroll says, “This is a living breathing list that will grow, not only from uncovering our past but now tracking our very own students who are serving.”