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Windows on the past: Old yearbooks reveal USU during WWI

February 14th, 2012 Posted in Arts and Life

By Liz Wilson
Aggie BluePrint
Photos courtesy of USU Special Collections

LOGAN—An epic portrayal of World War I has hit the big screen in the film War Horse. The film’s story follows the lives of a young horse and his owner during the tumultuous years leading up to World War I. While watching the film I couldn’t help but be caught up in the story and the war that will mark its 100th anniversary in two  years.

I was curious to know more about how Logan and the campus of Utah State University were impacted by the “Great War.” To find answers, I turned to the pages of USU history books to catch a glimpse of what life was like for the students during this time. The Buzzer, a USU yearbook, provided some interesting insights and humorous details of Aggie life in the early 1900s.

In 1914, the world went to war. Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria had been assassinated, and more than 100 countries would eventually be drawn into this unprecedented conflict. The Agricultural College of Utah, founded in 1888, was not yet affected; Old Main was still fairly new and students carried on with business as usual. Photos from the 1914 issue of The Buzzer show students flirting on the Quad and hanging out, much as college students today still do.

In 1916, change did come, as the Agricultural College of Utah changed its name to the Utah Agricultural College, or UAC. The campus ROTC program was in full force, training students to prepare for a war that the United States was not yet fighting.

Click here to see more of Liz’s story about USU during wartime at Aggie BluePrint.


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