Monday, November 12, 2012

Sesquicentennial Stories: The Promise of UK #119

Founded on November 28, 1944, the University of Kentucky 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 of Kentucky. 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 club provided many services for student veterans, including housing drives, in which over six hundred 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 Veterans Club was one of the youngest organizations on campus, it enjoyed the distinction of being the second largest club by 1947, with 2500 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 for veterans at the University of Kentucky.

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