LSU’s military traditions date from its founding in 1860. As with other institutions which have a strong military history and heritage, LSU experienced the pain caused by the loss of lives of many of its alumni who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the nation’s armed forces. Several memorials have been established on campus in their honor and serve as vivid reminders of their service and sacrifice.
Memorial Tower, or the Campanile, built in 1923 and dedicated in 1926, was one of the first structures on the present campus. It was paid for by the American Legion of Louisiana and given to the University as a memorial to Louisianans who gave their lives during World War I. On the rotunda walls are bronze plaques bearing the names of those to whom Memorial Tower is dedicated.
A capital campaign, the LSU Military Endowment Campaign Commission, is under way to renovate and restore Memorial Tower to house the LSU Military Museum, a repository for artifacts and memorabilia reflecting the University’s rich military history and heritage. While Memorial Tower houses the offices of Cadets of the Ole War Skule, it’s also a primary destination for campus recruiting tours.
The plaza in front of Memorial Tower hosts appropriate University ceremonies. The Cornerstone on the plaza was excavated from the ruins of Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy in Pineville, the original campus. One half describes the history, and the other half is inscribed with the names of the first Board of Supervisors and faculty. In 2003, the LSU Corps of Cadets placed a “time capsule” on the plaza honoring all former, present, and future cadets.
Information courtesy of the Ole War Skule.