Ask Anne

Questions for Anne Turkos, the university archivist
photos courtesy of University Archives, Gymkana and John T. Consoli
Q: My grandfather, like many others at the time, had to leave college to fight in World War II. How did that war affect UMD? —timothy creech ’09, ph.d. ’15

A: A: World War II had a profound impact on almost every aspect of umd. Many male students, faculty and staff enlisted or were drafted, which allowed the women remaining to move into leadership positions. For example, Jackie Brophy became the first female editor-in-chief of The Diamondback in 1944. The university held a full schedule of classes year-round, pushing students to graduate in 2.5 years to support the war effort. Research and training were redirected to war-related topics such as increased food production, foreign language expertise and improved airplane and battleship construction. Students planted a victory garden, collected scrap paper and conducted blood, war bond and Community War Fund drives. Athletic competition continued in football, men’s basketball and boxing, but with fewer participants, and spring sports disappeared entirely from 1943–45. Following wwii, enrollment tripled within three years because of the G.I. Bill, and housing shortages led 880 men to bunk on the floor of Reckord Armory.

Q: I love watching Gymkana perform! How long has it been a student group at Maryland? —Jeanne Yang ’07

A: The exhibition gymnastics troupe is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Gymkana’s routines mix traditional competition gymnastics events like parallel bars, still rings and vaulting with more experimental acts like chair balancing, ladders and the crowd favorite ring of fire. Student members perform at Maryland basketball games, at local schools and for the troops—they even made it to the semifinal round of “America’s Got Talent” in 2011.

Q: Who are some of the more remarkable UMD grads? The youngest? The oldest? The one with the most degrees? —Becca Starer ’13

A: No, but Leidy Zern M.S. ’29 did invent a process that created less sedimentation in chocolate milk—which made its commercial manufacture possible. He worked with Professor Richard Munkwitz as a graduate student, and the two patented their method in 1932.

Questions may be emailed to Terp magazine or tweeted to @UMDarchives University of Maryland University Archives: online | blog | facebook


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