Colgate University in the Great War
|By Alfred E. Alton
The proportionate contribution of men made by Colgate University to the various
branches of service in the army and navy during the war was not excelled by that
of any other college or university in the United States. Of the 2,500 living
alumni and the 640 students connected with the university when the United States
entered the war, 868 men were in the service. Six hundred and sixty-one were in
the army and 207 in the navy. Of these, 263 won commissions, and there were a
large number of non-commissioned officers. Twenty-three Colgate men made the
Within a week of the time the United States entered the war, President Elmer B.
Bryan placed the university, with all its resources, at the disposal of the
government. Lieutenant-Colonel James Ballentine. D.S.0., an officer in the
Canadian army, who was invalided home after three years of service in France,
was placed in charge of the military training on the campus. Under his excellent
leadership instruction was carried forward which enabled many of the students
to receive commissions later. From September to December, 1918, the students on
the campus, about 400 in number, were mustered in the Students' Army Training
Corps, under the command of Major L. B. Lawton, U.S.A., retired. Major Lawton
won the Congressional Medal of Honor for service in Tiensin in 1900, when he was
severely wounded. He had seen service in the Philippine campaign, 1899-1900. A
graduate of West Point in 1893, and with a wide experience in the army behind
him, Major Lawton made an efficient commanding officer of the Colgate Battalion.
During this period the university was under the control of the government. The
dormitories were turned into barracks and strict military discipline was
maintained on the campus.
The service the men of the university rendered at the front may be sivualized
best by the recital of the deeds of a few of those whose "service stars have
turned to gold."
Among the Colgate man who held high rank in the army and navy were:
B. F. Welton, Major, Co-ordination Sect., General Staff; P. L. Stackpole, Lt. Col.,
Field Artillery; T. D. Lucas, Major, Medical Corps; R. D. Newman, Major,
Cavalry; R. S. Veedor, Major, Medical Corps; W. T. Acker, Major, Medical Corps;
E. B. Simmons. Major, 317 Sanitary Train, 92nd Div.; W. C. Eaton, Commodore,
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