May. 27, 2022
CWU Memorial Honor Roll Celebrates Legacy of Wildcat WWII Veterans
In July of 1942, half a year after the United States officially entered World War II, Central Washington University President Robert E. McConnell received word that CWU was being considered as a training school for the U.S. Army Air Force.
McConnell replied via telegram:
“Can accommodate four hundred with classrooms, laboratories, gymnasium, dormitories, one hundred in hotel, four hundred in dining hall at one sitting. Other housing facilities available if needed. Number of teachers as follows: mathematics, three; physics, two; and two others who can be converted to physics; English and social science, twelve; physical training, four. Additional teachers in any of these fields can be provided to meet the demand.”
In total, almost 600 faculty members, students, and alumni of CWU in the Armed Forces served during World War II, of which 30 laid down their lives in service of our country. Former student Doug Munro received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously, and at least 24 others received citations for extraordinary and meritorious service. CWU continues to honor their noble actions through the Memorial Honor Roll, located on the first floor of Barge Hall, which serves as a memorial for those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation. Josephine Burley hand-carved its design into a walnut panel.
“This panel is rich in implications of infinite service,” Burley said. “The left side depicts our own world, our mountains, our fields, our homes, our schools, and our students. The right side portrays the world with the worker, homemaker, businessman, the cities, the factories, the symbolic plowshare, and the never-ending variation of spiritual faith. Each of us must supplement this with his own interpretation.”
This Memorial Day, CWU reaffirms its continued commitment to honor Wildcats who choose to serve. In his Memorial Day letter, CWU President Jim Wohlpart recognizes that, while we may feel this profound respect for service members just a little more strongly on Memorial Day, those lost in the name of defending our nation live on in our hearts, always.
“The CWU students, faculty, and staff we commemorate… include brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and friends — all of whom made the ultimate sacrifice for their country,” Wohlpart said. “To each, we offer our most sincere and humble appreciation as we recognize their strength, courage, and dignity in the defense of liberty — not just today but every day.”
Media contact: Rune Torgersen, Department of Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org, 509-963-1264