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The Class of '45: The boys who went away

Friday, Nov. 11, 2011

The new and old: A photograph of Santa Clara today and how it looked with the arrival of soldiers in 1943. Photo by Robert Boscacci '14 and from the Archives of SCU.


On this Veterans Day, we're providing an excerpt from a letter that will appear in the Winter 2012 issue of Santa Clara Magazine. Thomas E. Gebhardt '45 was among the freshmen entering the university in 1941.

"We were freshmen in 1941, eager to begin our college life ... [but] the attack on Pearl Harbor would change the life of each student of Santa Clara University. The years that followed became the war years, with students leaving to enter the service. It was a slow process, as students would wait for their orders. By the end of 1943, all eligible candidates had entered the service. A handful of the Class of 1945 would remain. The Tom Dowlings [a fellow football player] and the Chris Christiansons [also a football player] were lost in some far-away place, fighting for our country. It was ironic that our class started in 1941, the year World War II began and ended in 1945, the same year the war ended.

As the war ended, many of our class would return to Santa Clara—a new class, a new graduating year. The Class of 1945 was lost in the pages of time. It was a new beginning."


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