Friday, September 23, 2022

Exhibit: A Fighting Tradition

Exhibit posterThe Dartmouth College community has been involved in every one of the country's major military engagements, from as far back as the Revolutionary War all the way up to the recent conflicts in the Middle East. For centuries, Dartmouth men and women have carried on a storied tradition of valiant wartime service to the United States of America, serving all around the globe and in all branches of the military.

During the 2022 fall term, an exhibit curated by Ryan Irving '24, current president of the Student Veterans Association, explores this tradition. "A Fighting Tradition: Dartmouth in American Wars" will be on display in Rauner Special Collections Library's Class of 1965 Galleries until December 3rd.

As Irving's exhibit illustrates, this tradition has evolved over the years, as has the college's identity and the nature of its student body. In the first decade of Dartmouth's existence, its connection to war was primarily through alumni involvement. Over the course of the next two centuries, the college's participation in war efforts grew in scope and variety: it saw the creation of student military societies, facilitated the training of soldiers on campus, sponsored military support services, and allowed students to put their college years on pause to enlist.

National unrest over the country's involvement in the Vietnam War was reflected on campus by the formal elimination of ROTC sponsorship due in part to student protest. However, in the early years of James Wright's presidency, and because his influence at a national level, Dartmouth was afforded the opportunity to support the war effort in a new way: by welcoming veterans to campus as students, along with the wealth of experience and diversity that they brought with them.

To see the exhibit while it's on display, come by Webster Hall and visit the exhibit space on our mezzanine. To read more about the exhibit online, visit its website.