LSU Remembers: Ole War Skule Week

A Week Celebrating LSU's Military Traditions

Under the initiatives of our current student government administration an idea was put in place to create a week to remember our schools rich military history and reflect on the traditions that LSU was founded on.  As students of LSU, we often do not realize just how big of a part the military played in our schools history that is why we, as student government, created LSU Remembers:  Ole War Skule Week to help us in creating an awareness on campus of where we as a university came from.

Student Government has partnered with the Cadets of the Ole War Skule, LSU ROTC, and the Office of Veteran Affairs in order to establish "Ole War Skule Week," a week during the fall semester to commemorate our university's military history and to honor members of our LSU ROTC, as well as LSU graduates who have gone on to become active-duty servicemen and women and veterans. Ole War Skule Week will be held from November 18th to November 23, 2013 (the week leading up to the LSU/Texas A&M football game) and will include programming from both LSU Student Government and the LSU ROTC corps.

Our goal as an organization is to unite this great campus that we call home.  We believe that making efforts such as “Ole War Skule Week” will help us come together as a community and Remember just how important our military history is.

Week Events 

 
Monday, Nov. 18: 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Showing of "Forever LSU" film in Student Union Live Oak Lounge

Tuesday, Nov. 19: 1 p.m.- 3 p.m. Push-Up Competition in the Quad

Both branches of ROTC will be present, and the UREC will be refereeing the event. Campus and student organizations are allowed to participate. Teams will compete for highest number of pushups completed in 2 minutes. 

Wednesday, Nov. 20: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Pershing Rifle Demonstration at WW2 Memorial & Flag Presentation at Memorial Tower

The service will be two-fold. A silent pershing rifle demonstration at the WWII Memorial, followed by a few words at Memorial Tower about the purpose of the week. 

Thursday, Nov. 21: Campus-wide Camo Day
This event mirrors the ROTC wearing of their fatigues on Thursdays. 

 

History

Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College had its origin in certain grants of land made by the United States government in 1806, 1811, and 1827 for use as a seminary of learning. In 1853, the Louisiana General Assembly established the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy near Pineville, La. The institution opened on Jan.2, 1860, with Col. William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent. It closed on June 30, 1861, because of the Civil War. It reopened but was again closed on April 23, 1863, due to the invasion of the Red River Valley by the Federal army.

The Seminary reopened on Oct. 2, 1865, only to be burned Oct. 15, 1869. On Nov. 1, 1869, the institution resumed its exercises in Baton Rouge, where it has since remained. In 1870, the name of the institution was changed to Louisiana State University. Louisiana State Agricultural & Mechanical College was established by an act of the Legislature, approved April 7, 1874, to carry out the United States Morrill Act of 1862, granting lands for this purpose. It temporarily opened in New Orleans, June 1, 1874, where it remained until it merged with Louisiana State University in 1877.

When the University was formerly dedicated on the present campus on April 30, 1926, the cadets moved to the new campus. But they brought the traditions of the Ole War Skule with them, including the name and their commitment to the “the Long Purple Line.”

*Information taken from www.olewarskule.lsu.edu

Cadets of the Ole War Skule

In 1955, a group of those cadets who had begun their LSU experience on the old campus, officially organized “Cadets of the Ole War Skule” as a way of ensuring future generations of LSU cadets and other alumni might never forget the University’s rich military heritage and traditions. Their annual meetings on Homecoming Day also afforded them the opportunity to officially encourage and support participation in the LSU Corps of Cadets. Many of those members were not only former cadets but also members of the University’s faculty and staff.

As the years passed, and with fewer living cadets from the old campus, the membership of Cadets of the Ole War Skule declined, and the group ceased to hold annual meetings. In 1995, with the encouragement of then-Chancellor William E. “Bud” Davis, the University endorsed an effort designed to breathe new life into the organization and guarantee its continued existence as an integral part LSU’s traditions. At the same time, LSU Salutes, a program to officially recognize all former cadets and other veterans who had served and/or given their lives in service to the United States of America, was created. In March of 1998, the LSU Board of Supervisors designated LSU Salutes an official University event, guaranteeing its place as a tradition.

Cadets of the Ole War Skule continues to recognize and support the unique contributions of those who have served their country in uniform and to promote and cultivate the bonds of fellowship existing among alumni and students of LSU who have served, or are serving, the United States of America honorably in any one of the nation’s uniformed services, National Guard, or military reserve components. ‚Ä®Cadets of the Ole War strives to preserve and strengthen a spirit of camaraderie among its members, to foster and perpetuate patriotism, to strengthen a sense of individual allegiance to LSU, and to promote public awareness of the value of LSU’s military contributions.

*Information taken from www.olewarskule.lsu.edu

LSU Corps of Cadets

The LSU ROTC program fosters perhaps the University’s first and oldest student organization and its oldest tradition – the military heritage that has been part of the institution since its beginning under General William Tecumseh Sherman, who is believed to have given LSU the nickname “Ole War Skule.” For a number of years, the campus was a former military post, located adjacent to the Mississippi River near what is now downtown Baton Rouge.

Today, the same Pentagon Barracks provide space for state offices and other elected officials, and one can look out from them onto the official gardens of the state capitol and view the grounds on which LSU cadets once drilled and practiced military training. Since 1926, LSU Corps of Cadets has been at home on the present campus of more than 2,000 acres.

Since the University’s establishment in 1860, the institution’s military tradition has undergone many changes. What was once a compulsory training institution for male students eventually transformed into a two-year mandatory ROTC commitment for incoming freshman. Upon completion of the two-year commitment, cadets could apply for an advanced ROTC program qualifying them to receive an officer’s commission upon graduation.

Due to rising tensions from the Vietnam War in the 1960s, the LSU Board of Supervisors had no choice but to make the ROTC program voluntary. Prior to 1969, when the military program changed from compulsory to voluntary, the Corps of Cadets numbered over 3,000 and was one of the top programs in the nation. Enrollment decreased significantly after 1969, but in recent years both the Army and Air Force have experienced increases in the number of students joining their programs. Also, while LSU does not have a Naval ROTC program, many students participate in the Naval ROTC program at Southern University and as such, are considered part of the LSU Corps of Cadets.

Now with more than 300 cadets involved, the LSU Corps of Cadets serves proudly as part of the legacy of “the Long Purple Line” that will always remain with them and others through membership in Cadets of the Ole War Skule.

Additional information

For more information on the Ole War Skule please visit www.olewarskule.lsu.edu.