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How the Vietnam War transformed campus

How the Vietnam War transformed campus

Michelle Tedford November 03, 2020

Voices of Flyers record what campus and country were like at the time of the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam Legacies Project has captured voices of Flyers to record what campus and country were like at the time of the Vietnam War. Their stories, along with moments of history and student movements, are now available on a new website, www.vietnamlegacies.com.

Students attend a protest.Paul Morrow, the John M. Meagher Human Rights Fellow at UD, worked with the archives staff at University Libraries to identify people to interview, as well as information captured in student newspapers and yearbooks.

Alan Shatteen ’69 told Morrow the story of John Viktoryn, a classmate from high school who served in Vietnam and died there.

“I thought his death was a waste of what he could have contributed to the world … and what a great loss that was,” Shatteen said.

Undergraduates pose with a tankShatteen became a conscientious objector and mentored boys as his alternative service. “My path has been to be a contributor, because John didn’t get the chance,” he said.

Shatteen also became a member of the student governing council at a time when students demanded their voices be heard on issues of women’s rights, racial justice and activism.

“The interviews gave alumni an opportunity to reflect on their time at UD and recognize they were part of a really different era and part of the changes that have led to UD today,” Morrow said. The result can be seen in administrative support for recent campus rallies against climate change or for racial justice.

“Students today can expect to be taken seriously, while students of the 1960s had to struggle to have their concerns heard,” Morrow said.

The website — which features research by student assistants — also includes information on iconic campus speakers, changes to mandatory ROTC, the formation of the Peace Studies Institute and the evolution of the UD Research Institute.

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