Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College had its origin in certain grants of land made by the United States government in 1806, 1811, and 1827 for use as a seminary of learning. In 1853, the Louisiana General Assembly established the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy near Pineville, La. The institution opened on Jan.2, 1860, with Col. William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent. It closed on June 30, 1861, because of the Civil War. It reopened but was again closed on April 23, 1863, due to the invasion of the Red River Valley by the Federal army.
The Seminary reopened on Oct. 2, 1865, only to be burned Oct. 15, 1869. On Nov. 1, 1869, the institution resumed its exercises in Baton Rouge, where it has since remained. In 1870, the name of the institution was changed to Louisiana State University. Louisiana State Agricultural & Mechanical College was established by an act of the Legislature, approved April 7, 1874, to carry out the United States Morrill Act of 1862, granting lands for this purpose. It temporarily opened in New Orleans, June 1, 1874, where it remained until it merged with Louisiana State University in 1877.
When the University was formerly dedicated on the present campus on April 30, 1926, the cadets moved to the new campus. But they brought the traditions of the Ole War Skule with them, including the name and their commitment to the “the Long Purple Line.”
Cadets of the Ole War Skule
In 1955, a group of those cadets who had begun their LSU experience on the old campus, officially organized “Cadets of the Ole War Skule” as a way of ensuring future generations of LSU cadets and other alumni might never forget the University’s rich military heritage and traditions. Their annual meetings on Homecoming Day also afforded them the opportunity to officially encourage and support participation in the LSU Corps of Cadets. Many of those members were not only former cadets but also members of the University’s faculty and staff.
As the years passed, and with fewer living cadets from the old campus, the membership of Cadets of the Ole War Skule declined, and the group ceased to hold annual meetings. In 1995, with the encouragement of then-Chancellor William E. “Bud” Davis, the University endorsed an effort designed to breathe new life into the organization and guarantee its continued existence as an integral part LSU’s traditions. At the same time, LSU Salutes, a program to officially recognize all former cadets and other veterans who had served and/or given their lives in service to the United States of America, was created. In March of 1998, the LSU Board of Supervisors designated LSU Salutes an official University event, guaranteeing its place as a tradition.
Cadets of the Ole War Skule continues to recognize and support the unique contributions of those who have served their country in uniform and to promote and cultivate the bonds of fellowship existing among alumni and students of LSU who have served, or are serving, the United States of America honorably in any one of the nation’s uniformed services, National Guard, or military reserve components. Cadets of the Ole War strives to preserve and strengthen a spirit of camaraderie among its members, to foster and perpetuate patriotism, to strengthen a sense of individual allegiance to LSU, and to promote public awareness of the value of LSU’s military contributions.