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Statement of the Yale Corporation, December 12, 1942.
Yale in World War II Collection. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Samuel Jackson 11, On University Leadership

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Yale President Charles Seymour, who served as president from 1937 to 1951, released remarks in a December 1942 pamphlet entitled “A Living University in a Time of War,” publicly defending the quality of the Yale experience at a time when the draft age was lowered to eighteen and many Yale students were being drafted before they could finish their studies. The Corporation responded in this release, espousing the same virtues and highlighting the preservation of America’s “mind and soul” as the University’s civic duty. The Yale Corporation calls universities and colleges “custodians of our cultural heritage” at this time when Yale was arguably straying from its liberal arts mission in order to take a role as one of Wriston’s “vital organizations” for national defense; buildings were being directly provisioned to the Army and Navy for the training of soldiers. The University became deeply involved with the research demands of war and its curriculum shifted to accommodate the Yale men who generally went to war before they could finish their education. World War II was the zenith of that military-university relationship, soon to come under intense attack in the 1960s as a breach of intellectual responsibility.