Following World War I, Colgate, like many colleges and universities, adopted this national movement to honor the students and alumni who died in service.
World Wars I and II
University officials hold a World War I service flag in front of Lawrence Hall, 1941
Remembering those who died in service to our country
Colgate is aware of the great cost of this war to our young men and of our responsibility to do our part to make a recurrence of the conditions which caused the war impossible.'
Alumni Office, 1946
The symbol of the Gold Star veteran began in World War I, when service flags were created to denote individuals — usually within families or institutions — who served in a war. Blue stars indicated each service member within a given group. The blue stars were replaced with gold stars for servicemen (and later, -women) who gave their lives.
By the numbers, World War II had the largest impact on the campus. As the war tore through Europe and the South Pacific, loved ones of fallen Colgate students, alumni, and faculty received condolence letters from the Alumni office. “Colgate is aware of the great cost of this war to our young men,” the letters often began, “and of our responsibility to do our part to make a recurrence of the conditions which caused the war impossible.”1
At the end of 1946, 141 Colgate students and alumni had lost their lives in activities related to World War II. The university honored these students — as it had in the past for fallen soldiers from other wars — with memorial publications, events, plaques, the Alumni War Memorial Scholarship, and the creation of a service flag.
President Everett Needham Case and Harold Whitnall view Colgate War Service Record, 1944
Civil War memorial plaque in Administration Building, 1965
Explore the Archives
Notes & Sources
1. “My dear Mrs. Blanchard…” Letter from Alumni Office to spouse of Gold Star student, Burt Blanchard, January 5, 1946, Colgate University World War II records, A1057, Special Collections and University Archives, Colgate University
Colgate University World War I collection, A1207, Special Collections and University Archives, Colgate University
Colgate University World War II records, A1057, Special Collections and University Archives, Colgate University