From the Archives

History, documents, and photos

The Flight Record and the Army at Wofford

Written By: Phillip Stone - Sep• 25•14

When World War II came to Wofford, it brought major changes to the student body.

FlightRecordLogoAs the number of students at Wofford and similar colleges declined rapidly, administrators began to fear for the future of their colleges.  How does a college that is heavily dependent on tuition survive when the students go off to war?

The result of this impending crisis, as well as the army’s need for training programs before sending soldiers overseas, was that many colleges saw their facilities taken over by the federal government for various types of military training programs.  And that is how, in February 1943, Wofford College became the home of the 40th College Training Division, a training center for aviation students.

Wofford’s remaining students, which numbered fewer than a hundred, and some of the faculty went to either Spartanburg Junior College or Converse College.  The dormitories, classrooms, gymnasium, and grounds became the home of a program designed to teach aviation students some of the things they would have learned in a college course of study as they were on their way to flight school and officer candidate school.

The program, which lasted about fifteen months, left a few fingerprints on the college.  Occasionally, for fifty years after the war, a former aviation student would pass through the campus with his family to reminisce about his time here in 1943 or 1944.  Some photographs from those years are in the archives.  The Hugh R. Black Infirmary on campus, which had been a faculty home, became an infirmary during those years, and the college continued to use it for those purposes to this very day.  And, interestingly enough, the students produced a newspaper called the Flight Record, and that has remained in the archives.

The Flight Record’s staff, which rotated as new students came and others left, published some 22 issues between June 1943 and April 1944.  In the past year, I’ve had my student assistants scan the issues, and after doing some post-processing work, I have published them in Wofford’s digital repository.

Visit the Flight Record online

In the next few days, I hope to add the World War II newsletter that the college sent to alumni serving in the military.

Technology helps us share the experiences and memories of those who were part of our campus community seventy years ago, and I’m happy to make these materials more widely available.

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