Remembering the GI Bulge: Women Veterans

Not all veterans were men!! -- Women Veterans

Veterans In an article by June Willenz in Educational Record (Fall 1994) she referred to women veterans as the "invisible veterans." While the percentage of women in the service in World War II was small - 350,000 women as opposed to 16 million men - the number has more significance when one notes that 35% of the women who served made use of the GI Bill. While women may have been "invisible" in some venues, they were very visible at SU in the late 1940s.

Dean Eunice Hilton

Dean of Women, Eunice Hilton, addressed the subject of women veterans in a talk she gave in 1945.

The problem of the woman veteran will be somewhat different from that of the man, for the outstanding reason that the women in the services are a specially selected group and all volunteers...seventy per cent of the Waves, Spars, Marines and Wacs are eligible for college level programs of study.

~ Dean Eunice Hilton, May 1945 

Corporal Margaret Hastings

Corporal Margaret Hastings, who attended SU in the late 1940s, was the most highly publicized woman of the WAC (Women's Army Corps). Hastings survived a plane crash that left her and two men stranded in the jungles of New Guinea for 47 days during the war. Her jungle was dubbed "Shangri-la" by reporters..

Cadet Nurses Corps

Veterans The US Cadet Nurse Corps was established in 1943, three days after the [SU] School of Nursing admitted its first class, to aid in the "war effort". The goals of this program were: to increase the enrollments in schools of nursing; to accelerate the training period so that the last six months would include full-time service in civilian, military, USPHS [US Public Health Service], Veterans, and Indian hospitals; and to increase the number of graduate nurses who would have additional preparation for advanced and specialized positions - in teaching, supervision, administration, and public health nursing.

From the time the program began on July 1, 1943 through December 31, 1949 when it ended, the federal expenditure totaled $160,320,445.

During the six years of the Cadet Nursing Corps, 1,125 out of 1,300 schools of nursing participated. In most schools, 80 to 100 percent of the students joined the Corps. The total admission to schools of nursing numbered 179,000. Of these, 169,443 were Cadet Nurses.

Nursing at Syracuse University in the Forties: Tradition and Transition, War and Peace        ~ Barbara L. Harris, 1996

Women Veterans Cadet Nurses in 1945 in winter outdoor Cadet Nurse uniform, marching to Hendricks Chapel to the convocation celebrating the opening of the new nursing school building.

Women Veterans

Admiral Chester Nimitz and Dean Edith Smith are shown here with the Cadet Nurses graduating class.