ISU Headlines

ISU reunion of World War II U.S. Navy V-12 program servicemen set Feb. 13-14

Posted February 6, 2009

More than six decades ago, a group of 450 naval recruits from 23 states came to Pocatello to enroll in a one-year, highly rigorous, concentrated and intensive undergraduate education program created to help meet wartime demand for commissioned Naval officers. 

From 1943 to 1945 the Navy V-12 program boosted enrollment to 699 students at the Southern Branch of the University of Idaho, as ISU was then known. This infusion of dedicated and hardworking individuals propelled the university to its place as a research and educational cornerstone serving more than 14,000 students. It continues its leadership in opportunity and innovation for all.

A group of 21 alumni will be accompanied by family members and friends traveling to the reunion from Idaho, Utah, Montana, Oregon, Colorado and California.

Pianist Roger Williams, then known as Louis Weertz, when he was in the Navy V-12 program at Idaho State.On Friday, Feb. 13, participants will attend a reception at the College of Business to become reacquainted and reminisce about their campus experiences. Following the reception, the group will be entertained by The Silver Chords choral group.

On Saturday, Feb. 14, the group will spend the morning touring the ISU campus. Highlights will the familiar sites of Graveley Hall (the V-12 dormitory); the Administration Building (the V-12 student union) and Davis Field, where military drills and physical training were conducted.

The V-12 alumni will also be introduced to the Rendezvous Center and the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center. They will be joined for lunch there by Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D., president of ISU. Also at the luncheon, Corey Schou, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Business and director of the National Information Assurance Training Center (NIATEC), will discuss how modern programs for national security tie back to the V-12 program and World War II codebreakers.

The reunion concludes with a concert at the Stephens Performing Arts Center by renowned pianist Roger Williams at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Stephens Perfroming Arts Center's Jensen Grand Concert Hall. Williams will dedicate the concert to the late Harry F. Magnuson who, with Williams, was an ISU V-12 alumnus. Magnuson was a great friend of ISU for many years and instrumental in the reunion planning. The V-12 alumni are establishing a Navy V-12 Endowment to memorialize the V-12 alumni and preserve their important history.

For additional information, contact Michelle Schroeder at (208) 282-6169.