Columbians in WWII

Columbia students, alumni, faculty, and staff served in the Second World War in larger numbers while the University once again assisted the war effort by making its buildings available to the military.

More than fifteen thousand Columbians served in the armed forces during the war, and approximately 450 lost their lives. The University’s War Memorial includes a list of those who died in defense of the country during the conflict. Among the first was Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh, the commander of the USS Arizona, sunk at Pearl Harbor. Captain Van Valkenburgh earned a master’s of science in engineering in 1917 from Columbia. For his valor, he was posthumously received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

 

Columbia President Dwight Eisenhower standing next to Alma Mater.
Columbia President Dwight Eisenhower standing next to Alma Mater.
Courtesy Columbia University Archives.