WWII and the Navy V-12 Program
As the United States entered World War II in the early 1940s, American colleges and universities were facing declining enrollment as men who would have normally gone to college were either drafted or volunteered for service. At the same time the U.S. Navy was in need of commissioned officers to meet the demands of the Second World War. The Navy V-12 program was created to generate a large number of officers as well as to offset the dropping enrollment at colleges. Backed by the federal government, the program paid tuition to participating colleges and universities for college courses that were taught to qualified candidates. Eligible candidates included naval enlisted personnel who were recommended by their commanding officers and high school seniors who passed a qualifying exam. The Navy V-12 Program officially began on July 1, 1943.
Like many other colleges of the time, Hobart College was eager to replace drafted students. President John Milton Potter was able to secure the designation of Hobart College as one of the colleges that would have a Navy V-12 Unit and a contract was signed in the spring of 1943. The V-12 program brought many changes to Hobart and William Smith Colleges during its duration from July 1, 1943 through October 13, 1945.