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Ask Anne - Spring 2016

Questions for Anne Turkos, the university archivist

By Terp Staff


Courtesy of Gymkana

Courtesy of Gymkana


Q: My grandfather, like many others at the time, had to leave college to fight in World War II. How did that war affect UMD? —TIMOTHY CREECH ’09, PH.D. ’15

A: A: World War II had a profound impact on almost every aspect of umd. Many male students, faculty and staff enlisted or were drafted, which allowed the women remaining to move into leadership positions. For example, Jackie Brophy became the first female editor-in-chief of The Diamondback in 1944. The university held a full schedule of classes year-round, pushing students to graduate in 2.5 years to support the war effort. Research and training were redirected to war-related topics such as increased food production, foreign language expertise and improved airplane and battleship construction. Students planted a victory garden, collected scrap paper and conducted blood, war bond and Community War Fund drives. Athletic competition continued in football, men’s basketball and boxing, but with fewer participants, and spring sports disappeared entirely from 1943–45. Following wwii, enrollment tripled within three years because of the G.I. Bill, and housing shortages led 880 men to bunk on the floor of Reckord Armory.

GymkanaQ: I love watching Gymkana perform! How long has it been a student group at Maryland? —JEANNE YANG ’07

A: The exhibition gymnastics troupe is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Gymkana’s routines mix traditional competition gymnastics events like parallel bars, still rings and vaulting with more experimental acts like chair balancing, ladders and the crowd favorite ring of fire. Student members perform at Maryland basketball games, at local schools and for the troops—they even made it to the semifinal round of “America’s Got Talent” in 2011.


Q: Who are some of the more remarkable UMD grads?
The youngest? The oldest? The one with the most degrees?


A: The oldest graduate was Henrietta Spiegel '89, who received an English degrees at age 85.  On the other end of the spectrum, Charles Fefferman '66 earned degrees in both math and physics and age 17. (He went on to earn his doctorate from Princeton at age 20, and at 22, become the youngest full professor in the University of Chicago's history.) As for the most degrees, Sandra Laake is one of three Terms who earned five. Hers, unusually, were all bachelor's degrees earned from 1967-2000 in art, education, history, social studies and English.

AnneQuestions may be emailed to Terp magazine or tweeted to @UMDarchives

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