20th Century

The twentieth century saw a shift in the nature of Columbia’s involvement in the military. Students and staff continued to serve in the armed forces, but the University as an institution also began to contribute to the country’s defense.  In both the First and the Second World Wars, Columbia turned over its buildings and other facilities to the military for training purposes and conducted war-related research.  Following the Second World War, the Navy ran an ROTC program on the Morningside Heights campus for many years, and the University became an educational home for many of the country’s veterans and active service personnel.


Midshipmen marching on South Field, May 1942.
Midshipmen marching on South Field, May 1942.Courtesy Columbia University Archives.