Monthly Archives: November 2014

Turtle International

The first Turtle International was held on February 28, 1964. Water turtles six inches long and under competed in a 35 foot “dash” on a plywood ramp leading from the stage in Clendenen. 51 entries competed in two heats. A variety of private and state schools as well as Oxford University sent turtles. “Tuffy” from Tufts was the winner. AU’s “General Ike” was eliminated in the heats. The race raised $440 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

AU’s “Goy” won the second Turtle International in 1965 beating out the Vassar and Simmons turtles. When the race was moved to May in 1966, AU won for a second year in a row with “Tricky Dick.” AU raised $1500 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in 1968 when Western Washington State College won the race over a huge field (80 entrants).

After skipping a year, the race resumed in 1970 and ran annually through 1973. Over the years the ramp was lengthened to 50 feet and the number of turtles in each heat was reduced. Humorist Art Buchwald served as Master of Ceremonies for the race in the 1970s.  The image below is from the 1970s.

Turtle International

Veterans Education at American University

In honor of Veterans Day, here are few facts about veterans on campus from AU’s student newspaper:

  • The Veterans’ Administration contracted with AU to train Regional Service Officers for duty throughout the country. A twenty week academic program at AU was followed by 18 month internship with the VA. AU admitted a new group every ten weeks. The program was co-educational and was specifically for disabled veterans. As there was no available dormitory space on campus, the men lived at the YMCA. The first class graduated on March 12, 1945. The 22 members of the graduating class attended a reception at the White House hosted by Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • To accommodate the growing number of veterans attending AU, the Federal Government built barracks style and Quonset hut dorms. Once built the buildings were transferred to AU. Two room apartments for married veterans opened in the summer of 1946. On the map below from 1948, you will find two locations designated as veteran’s apartments.
  • In the fall of 1949, AU’s School of Social Sciences and Public Affairs set a new enrollment record. The boost was credited to an increase in the number of veterans registering for classes. G.I. students represented 55% of SSPA’s student body.

Campus Map 1948 Yearbook