The Khaki University

Geoffrey Shepherd, William’s and Fanny’s fifth son, enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Regina, Saskatchewan, on October 29, 1917. He did this with his family’s reluctant approval – and by falsified enlistment paper, as he was only 18 though we swore he was 21. Geoffrey went to England in 1918 and was demobilised in 1919. During his year in the Canadian army, he attended the Khaki University and detailed his experiences in several letters home. Many of these letters were written separately to Fanny, or “Dear Old Mother.” According to his family, his classes “both elated and humbled him; he ended up gratefully solidifying his academics to prepare for his future studies at Saskatchewan University.” After pursuing further education at Harvard, he eventually became a Professor of Agricultural Economics at Iowa State University. 

"In 1964, during his overseas job advising the South Vietnamese government on rice pricing, Geoffrey Shepherd took it on himself to teach economics in the evening at the Saigon branch of the University of Maryland, which pioneered an overseas program since 1949,. It employed academics from all over to offer college classes to active-duty service members. It seemed to mirror the Khaki University that had given him such a boost early in his own career." 

- Margaret Shepherd

As Geoff’s experience shows, Khaki University, formerly Khaki College, was a pathbreaking educational system established by the Canadian Army in Britain during the First and Second World Wars, 1917-1919 and 1945-46, respectively.

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