Date of Award


Degree Name

MA in History




John Snetsinger


The Zook Commission: Reassessing World War II

Veterans Influence on Higher Education

Jeffrey Scott Aranguena

This thesis is an analysis of The Presidential Commission on Higher Education of 1947 and the influence World War II veterans held on the role of the Commission’s recommendations. More specifically, this thesis takes a look at the recommendations presented to President Harry S. Truman in a report titled, Higher Education for American Democracy, and the influence veterans had on the Presidential Commission’s suggestions to President Truman. Through a major change in higher education ideology, the veterans provided an example for what higher education could be in the United States. The commission concluded that changes were needed to ensure equal educational opportunity for individuals and particularly those previously excluded from higher education, and encouraged individuals to carry their education as far as their natural capacities permitted. These conclusions of the commission established a baseline for federal policy toward higher education that lasted for several decades.