Remembering the GI Bulge: Veterans Share Their Memories

In 1997 Syracuse University sent a booklet announcing the plans for a GI Bulge exhibit to over 900 members of the Class of 1947. The booklet provided a form that alumni could use to notify the University of their interest in the project and what items they would be willing to loan or donate to the Archives. The first material to arrive was included in this exhibit. All photographs, clippings, scrapbooks, diplomas, letters and tapes received were catalogued and added to the Archives. Originals were returned if requested. Here is a list of some of the Vets who shared their memories.

The Syracuse University Archives still invites alumni, faculty or staff to join with us in documenting this landmark episode in the history of the University.

Stanley Nowocienski '47

Stanley Nowocienski Stanley Nowocienski was the first combat veteran to complete his entire Syracuse education under the GI Bill. He entered SU as a freshman in the 1944 summer semester and attended continuously under the University's accelerated plan, graduating in January 1947 from the College of Business Administration. A native of Auburn, NY, Nowocienski enlisted in the Marine Corps and saw action in three Pacific invasions before being wounded on Guadalcanal and receiving his medical discharge. Like most veterans attending SU, Nowcienski seldom talked about his combat experiences. His story became known, however, when he received his Purple Heart medal during a special ceremony on campus.

Stanley Nowocienski

50th anniversary 1st Marine Division, Quantico, VA 1992

Stanley Nowocienski

Stan Nowocienski receiving his purple heart on campus

GI Graduate

First GI graduates in January 1947


Article on the purple heart ceremony

Joseph Geary '47

Joseph Geary Joseph Geary, who contributed the accompanying photographs for the exhibition, began his college education at Duke University and then served with the 291st Engineer Combat Battalion during World War II. Wounded and discharged, he decided to complete his degree at Syracuse. "Syracuse turned me down in the fall of 1945," he writes, "[but] I jumped on a train from my home in Long Island and pounded my fist on the Dean's desk until he accepted me....[I] got a private room with a family on Walnut Avenue, but soon moved into the SAE House on Comstock.... The returning GIs were older and more serious about academics and learning than ordinary freshmen. We did have our fun though, with intramural football, fraternity rivalry, getting a date for the big gymnasium fire, parties and dances, et al."

Joseph Geary Joseph Geary Joseph Geary

Gabe Josephson '50

Gabe Josephson The creator of "Vic the Vet," Gabe Josephson, a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge and a recipient of the Purple Heart, was ideally suited to record the trials and tribulations of veterans on campus. An illustration major in the College of Fine Arts, he was a member of Sigma Delta Chi and worked on both the Daily Orange and Syracusan magazine. After graduation, he enjoyed a fulfilling and successful career. He created a comic strip and produced illustrations for record covers, book jackets, and numerous magazines, including the New York Times Book Review and Reporter. He also worked as a freelance artist for Sesame Street and Walt Disney Productions, and designed award-winning textile designs for children's wear.

Gabe Josephson Gabe Josephson Gabe Josephson Gabe Josephson

N. Lester Stoddard '50

N. Lester Stoddard A native of Glens Falls, NY, Stoddard served with the infantry in North Africa and Italy, received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and was discharged in November 1945. He entered SU in January 1946 as a freshman in engineering, but transferred to the program in interior design after his first year. After graduating in 1950, he married Elaine Kingsley '50 and began his career as an interior designer in Schenectady, NY. "I cannot help but heap praise on the University," he writes, "for making it possible for me to enjoy a 47-year career in interior design.... Our memories of graduation in June of 1950 are still strong. God willing, we look forward to our 50th reunion in the year 2000 with the hope that it will be every bit as enjoyable as was the 25th."

N. Lester Stoddard Lester Stoddard in the front line outside of Pisa drawing enemy fire

N. Lester Stoddard Lester Stoddard and Jean Taylor watching Archbold Gym burn, 1947

N. Lester Stoddard Lester Stoddard and Elaine Kingsley at the ROTC Ball

N. Lester Stoddard Lester Stoddard and Elaine Kingsley, 1950