December 17, 2017

History of Webster and the military

Almost a century ago, female students at Webster University volunteered for the military, where they learned how to fly airplanes. The women would travel from the U.S. to military bases in Europe during World War II and some of them were targeted by the German military.

The Beginning

Webster opened its first military campus in 1974, but the relationship between Webster and the U.S. Department of Defense began when Webster was an all-women’s school.

Female students volunteered for the military in the 1940s and served as nurses, pilots and administrators.

Patrick Giblin, Director of Public Relations, said Webster was recognized during World War II because the students sold $550,000 worth of war bonds.

Photo Credit: Webster University Webster students sell war bonds during World War II on campus.

Photo Credit: Webster University
Webster students sell war bonds during World War II on campus.

“During World War II, at home, our students sold a record amount of war bonds, more than any other organization in the state, and as a result, several airplanes and at least one medical ship were named after Webster College at the time,” Giblin said.

Webster became a co-educational school in 1968 and a program was created to help the men and women returning home from the Vietnam War. The program, Veterans Accelerated Urban Learning for Teaching (VAULT), allowed the veterans to earn a teaching degree and transition into the civilian lifestyle as teachers or other roles in inner city schools.

Webster opened its first military campus at Fort Sheridan near Chicago in 1974. During the same year, campuses opened at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois and Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. The campuses offered a higher quality education on base for those in the military.

By 2013, Webster funded 36 military locations across the nation. During this time, the U.S. Air Force approached Webster about creating a Cybersecurity Program, which trains students how to protect computer systems, networks and other important security data.
Present

Today, Webster has 39 extended military campuses, along with military students who take online classes. Webster has been nationally recognized as a military friendly campus. The “Military Times” put Webster on their “Best for Vets: Colleges 2017” list and Webster was ranked first in Missouri and eighth nationally among private four-year institutions.

Susan Schultz, Director at Scott Air Force Base and Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) Campuses, has worked in higher education for more than 19 years. She has been with the Webster campus at Scott Air Force Base for a little over a year and believes these programs for military students are very convenient.

“Webster University makes it convenient for military students to complete their degree since we are located on so many military base

Photo Credit: Webster University Webster's military students study at one of Webster's 39 military base campuses.

Photo Credit: Webster University
Webster’s military students study at one of Webster’s 39 military base campuses.

installations,” Schultz said. “There are several modalities in which a student can complete their degree; in addition to the traditional seated class, military students can take classes online or through WebNet+.”

The programs are provided for all branches of the military. The website also mentioned there are approximately 17,000 Webster students and 7,000 are military students according to the Webster University’s website.

Schultz said the diversity at military campuses allow her to learn while assisting their educational dreams.

“I enjoy helping those who serve our country succeed in achieving their education goals,” Schultz said. “Working for Webster U. at a military site encompasses a diverse student body, which provides a wider range of backgrounds and experiences to learn from.”

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