World War I At Southwestern University: The Student Army Training Corps

During the last year of World War I, the U.S. War Department created a national program to be implemented at colleges across the country called the Student Army Training Corps. Southwestern University was one of the schools with an SATC chapter. Combining general curriculum with military lectures and practical instruction, the SATC was designed to train young university students to join the armed forces after graduation. The War Deparment hoped to fill the military's ranks with well-educated and highly prepared young men, thereby improving the overall quality of American troops. However, World War I ended in November of 1918, rendering the SATC's purpose moot. The chapter at Southwestern was active for less than one semester. Also founded during WWI, the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) replaced the SATC as the premier collegiate officer training program in the country. 

The World War I Collection at Southwestern University's Special Collections includes a vast amount of documents and correspondence related to the organization and administration of the college's SATC chapter. A great deal of effort was involved in the implementation of the SATC, indicating the immense value that was placed on its mission. Although preparation for a military career was the goal for each chapter member, the SATC authorities stressed that military instruction should be considered subordinate to academics. Explore the exhibit to see how these organizational expectations compared to the realities of the Student Army Training Corps at Southwestern.


Rachel Robinson