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Back to College After the War 1

A

glance fifty years into the past can sharpen the focus of blurry images as well as blur what at one time seemed so well defined. Some events frommy years with the National Student Association seemalmost as sharp today as when they occurred. Others emerge only after rummaging through long-forgotten papers.

What was it like to be in college then? What were the circumstances that drew me into this unique moment in U.S. student history? Here is what springs to life for me. When I returned, in April 1946, from twenty-eight months of military service in the United States, the Philippines, and the postwar occupation of Japan, (1) I was eager to get on with my life, and yet was uneasy about the choices I had made when I entered the City College of New York (CCNY) in 1943. During the four years that followed my return, the birth of NSA drew me into an experience that forever changed my life. It liberated me frommy presumed career choice in civil engineering, which, by the time I got

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