MacMurray College During World War II: 1941- 1946

January 28, 2023

McKenna Servis, Coordinator of MacMurray College Archives & Collection for the MacMurray Foundation & Alumni Association, has completed research into MacMurray College students and WWII. The research is significant as the college was all women at the time so the focus is 100% about women and the war which makes it very unique. She has set-up a website to share her findings,

Highlights of her research and inclusion in the website include vintage photos of students at the time and a statement of then President McClelland about the evolving role and need for women to assume greater responsibilities in all areas of life due to the war.

Individual students who left the college, before and after graduation, to assist in the war effort through volunteering are featured. MacMurray women volunteered in all facets of the war effort, including Women’s  Army Corp (WAC created in response to Pearl Harbor),  Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP), American Red Cross, US Coast Guard (Women’s Branch), US Marines, and Navy, Army and Cadet Nurse Corp and the US Governments Civilian War Department.

A special page is devoted to Hazel Sugawara, a young woman from Seattle who was attending the University of Washington when she and her family were forcibly relocated to one of the internment camps in Idaho that the US government set-up to send people of Japanese descent. President McClelland subsequently applied and was approved by the US government to allow  MacMurray College to accept “relocated Japanese American students”. Photos of her and her families internment are also included. MacMurray College became Hazel’s “opportunity to relocate” as mentioned in her application for admission essay.

In recognizing the research of Ms. Servis MacMurray Foundation Chair David Ekin noted that “her research and highlighting this important chapter in the history of MacMurray further shows that the history of MacMurray was also the history of our country. We think there is more potential research that is in our records and archives that also bring our collective pasts (MacMurray & US) alive.”

In doing the research and developing the website to share her findings Ms. Servis stated “through the research that I have been able to conduct through the MacMurray collections I have found that MacMurray was an institution set on advancing women’s education during and after the war. MacMurray administration and students put all they had into supporting the war effort, forever linking MacMurray to an important era of United States history.”

The site can be accessed at  Ms. Servis also serves as Manager of the Jacksonville Area Museum.

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