Columbia College and The G.I. Bill

Veteran's Day GI Bill

Since Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill in 1944, Columbia College Chicago has assisted thousands of US Veterans in attaining occupations in their fields of choice. Today, we would like to honor our veterans by highlighting our digital exhibit, Columbia The G.I. Bill.

What is the G.I. Bill?

The G.I. Bill is essentially the Veteran’s Bill of Rights. It was created in 1944 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress, and various veterans groups. Over 16.3 million men and women received education, home loans, and health services that were once difficult for the American middle class to obtain. Columbia was an institution that was involved in this change.

GI Bill

The Veterans Guidance Research Center

From 1945-1950, the Veterans Guidance Research Center operated at Columbia College as a center for assistance for returning WWII veterans. The center helped over 20,000 people with its educational, occupational, and psychological assistance. The center, though situated in Columbia’s 410 S Michigan building, was not a part of Columbia- it was an allied organization created by Norman Alexandroff, Columbia’s president at the time.

Columbia GI Bill Education

A Columbia College Education

Columbia trained veterans for specific jobs separate of the Veterans Guidance Research Center. Radio, television, journalism, advertising, business, film, and theatre majors were a few of the possible career paths for WWII veterans that Columbia provided.

Out of this movement, Columbia produced notable alumni including

  • Al Hernandez (Captain, US Army) – Class of 1951, Television Advertising
  • Jack Hickey (US Air Force) – Class of 1950, BA, Speech Drama
  • Howard Mendelsohn – Class of 1949, BA, Speech

For more information regarding Columbia The G.I. Bill, visit our digital exhibit here. Happy Veterans Day!

Al Hernandez

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About Calley Nelson

Calley Nelson is a freelancer based in Chicago who enjoys collecting records, going to rock shows, and writing fiction. She is currently Director of Communications at Lpdeezign and the editor of I AM FEMINISM MAGAZINE. Follow her @calleynlsn
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