University History

Navy V-12

During World War II, the U.S. Navy supported a large shipbuilding program. There was a corresponding requirement for a large number of officers to man those ships. To help meet the need, the Navy created the V-12 training program in partnership with approximately 130 colleges and universities across the country. Launched in early 1943, the program provided for an accelerated course of college level education and military training to prepare young men to become Navy officers.

In April 1943, President Frederic W. Boatwright announced that the University of Richmond would host a Navy V-12 program. This program helped the University keep enrollment up at a time when military service pulled young men off of college campuses. It helped keep the faculty intact, which allowed the University to ride out this period without losing ground.

V-12 was launched at the University of Richmond on July 1, 1943. Approximately 800 officer candidates were trained here before the unit left campus in October 1945. The Navy assigned officers and non-commissioned officers to oversee the training. The University of Richmond faculty shaped the academic program and taught the classes. Officer candidates enrolled in the program as enlisted men. Some of them had previous college credits, which in some cases could be applied to the program's graduation requirement. The program was designed to be completed in three semesters, without breaks, over a one-year period. V-12 students maintained a 17-hour load and physical conditioning was a part of their training.

The University designated Thomas Hall and Jeter Hall to house the V-12 students. They ate their meals in the refectory and studied in the library. During their time here, these young sailors participated in campus life. It is said that they made outstanding additions to the football, basketball and baseball teams. V-12 students participated in dances, fraternities and other campus organizations.

In October 1996, 56 former V-12 participants assembled on campus for the first reunion of this special group. They presented a replica of the statue of the "Lone Sailor" to the University. This statue honors all U. S. sailors at the U. S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D. C.