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The Arch and flagpole represent Tusculum's dedication and sacrifice during the First World War. The Arch was built in 1917 to demonstrate the school's patriotism. Five Tusculum students were killed in combat overseas and are remembered at the flagpole, which was rebuilt in their honor.

  • Students gather under the arch.
  • Students gathered under the arch.
  • The arch under snowfall.
  • The flag pole with Virginia Hall in the background.
  • The flag pole.
  • The flag pole after its reconstruction in the 1960s.
  • Lieutenant Robert E. Mitchell plaque as seen on the flagpole base. Mitchell was killed in the First World War October 15, 1918.
  • A letter composed by then Tusculum President Charles Oliver Grey, to the family of Robert E. Mitchell.

The flagpole and stone Arch that can be seen on a walk from the front doors of McCormick Hall are representative of the Tusculum's service during the First World War. Following the declaration of war against Germany in April of 1917, a patriotic fervor swept through the school as it did the rest of the country. The Arch and flagpole  represented Tusculum's effort to, “do its part” as they saying went.1

Tusculum was active in many ways during World War I, anxiously helping to aid the war effort both before and after America’s declaration. In the summer of 1915, Mrs. McCormick generously purchased 75 acres of land that adjoined the southern part of the school grounds. Tusculum administrators decided it would be best suited for agricultural purposes, which was in keeping with the, “Food Will Win the War”, slogan popularized by the government. According to the plan, students who worked on the farm would gain a knowledge of scientific agriculture and help pay their tuition through canning and crop sales. By 1917, Tusculum hoped for a profitable farm featuring home-made bread and beef in the cafeteria. In the five years it operated however, the farm never once made a profit, losing an average of $1,500 each year. By 1919, the college gave up on the idea behind the farm and leased the land to a local farmer.1

Food was not the only way the Tusculum attempted to help. On campus students, faculty and staff established a unit of the Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C), which trained students for military service.1

Tusculum also supported the Red Cross.This was one of the few activates where women could contribute as much support as men. The Red Cross offered training workshops in first-aid, which drew thousands of Greene County residents. Student and faculty demonstrated their commitment through contributions to the United War Work Fund, which raised $1,020 in November 1918.1

Sixty-eight men served the armed forces, including seven faculty, eighteen alumni and forty -three undergraduates. Five did not return from battle. In 1921, a new flag base was dedicated in their honor. The base was rebuilt in the 1960s but still retains the original plaques featuring the names of the five students killed in action.

1. Fuhrmann, Joseph T. The Life and Times of Tusculum College. Greeneville, TN. Tusculum College, 1986.

2. Sexton, Jr, Donal J. Smith, Jr., Myron J. Glimpses of Tusculum: A Pictoral History of Tusculum College. Marceline, MO. Walsworth Publishing Co., 1994.
3. Tusculum University Archive.