After WWI the Knights’ service centers closed as the training camps shuttered and the overseas army returned home. The Order recognized the need to help these men return to civilian life. Vocational and academic education would greatly assist this transition.
The educational program was popular. In his 1921 annual report, Supreme Knight Flaherty said “The number of the schools has been doubled within the past 12 months, now numbering 128 units and the enrollment of students for the last semester being upward of 100,000.” The Free Night Schools were extended that year to “civilians, at nominal cost.” The supreme knight continued, “We have served men and women of all colors and creeds in these schools; we have been enabled to better the lives of white and colored [sic], Protestant, Jew and Catholic alike--and it is my hope that we may always … provide these opportunities for our fellow-citizens, for in providing them we are adding immeasurably to the quality of citizenship.”
The 1923 caption to this photograph reads: Men who served in the Great War are studying side-by-side, the art of peace in the Knights of Columbus Free Evening Schools, which opened this (Tuesday January 2) evening. The women students are interested mostly in the languages, telegraphy salesmanship and advertising. Photograph of class at work at St. Ignatius College building branch.
Today’s Knights continue service to active members of the military and veterans with a variety of initiatives including Warriors to Lourdes.
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