Campus Life

"[The first-year class] voted to subscribe to a $100 Liberty Bond and present it to the college. This was presented to Knox as an expression of their loyalty and support to Knox and the United States." - "Freshmen Liberty Bond," The Gale, Knox College, 1919.


Academic pursuits at Knox were impacted by the war, as students' interests were shaped by the ongoing philosophical and intellectual questions raised by the conflict. College debaters took on war-related topics. As German culture and philosophies began to be regarded as suspect (as expressed by Professor William L. Raub in his article entitled "German War Philosophy," published in The Knox Alumnus), the number of students studying the German language fell and the number of students studying French surged. The fine arts were also impacted by the war, as Knox's Conservatory director, William F. Bentley, pointed out in "Music is an Aid to Morale." 

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"German War Philosophy"

Students even served as assistants for "War Aims." 

Students took their responsibility to support the war effort seriously. Knox's senior class donated funds raised via their senior play to men who had joined the military; the junior class gave up their prom to hold a dance to raise money for the war effort instead; and the first-years also raised money for a war bond. Additionally, Knox undergraduates raised money for French orphans. The Knox Alumnus of June, 1918 notes, "The young men gave $59.75 and the young ladies donated $140.25. In justice to the men, it may be said that they were not so numerous as the ladies."

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Celebratory events, such as Founder's Day and Knox's Commencement, were affected by the ongoing turmoil. Every major event was perceived as another opportunity for students to be reminded of the need for patriotism. 

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"Military activities and barracks life have resulted in the practical elimination of fraternity life at Knox. The chapters pledged and initiated the usual number of Freshmen early in the fall, but when the barracks was completed and all men moved to the campus, houses were closed. Soon after, however, it was necessary to reopen the Tau Kappa Epsilon and the Beta Theta Pi houses as hospitals to care for Spanish Influenza cases.

While the government has issued no order regarding fraternity activities, it is indirectly understood to have 'requested' Greek activities to cease at S.A.T.C. units. Accordingly, it is likely that the societies in Knox will continue to exist and that is about all. There will be no parties, no chapter meetings and perhaps no initiations."

- The Knox Alumnus 2:1 (Oct., 1918): 25. 

Many fraternity members were proud of the part they played in the war. The yearbook pages below show which fraternity members served in the military. The asterisked names indicate men who served; photographs of said members accompany the lists provided. 

Beta Theta Pi was noted as being particularly engaged in the war effort. The Knox Alumnus published in December, 1917 states that "Forty-four Knox Betas are in the army and navy. Each of the active chapter writes at least one personal letter a week to a Beta in service." 

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Visitors to Knox were also strongly affected by the war. Two French exchange students who studied at Knox, Yvonne Ropinion and Marie-Louise Léautier, came here to "become fully acquainted with customs and language here and so return to their native country to help strengthen the bond of friendship between France and the United States." Dr. W.A. Schofield, Knox's visiting professor in 1918, grieved the death of his son in Italy during the war. Professor Louis Allard served in the French army. 

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