The decade of the ’40s at SI is a paradox. World War II cast its shadow over the entire nation, and SI was not exempt — approximately 3,000 SI grads served in the Armed Forces and 96 died for their country. Students graduated early to enlist, and they watched as one teacher after another exchanged chalk and eraser for a uniform and rifle. Still, high school boys will be boys, and the Big Game would always mean more than a conflict half a world away. The decade also saw the birth of great traditions, such as the Bruce-Mahoney Trophy, and champion athletes, who would go on to professional sports teams. The basketball team brought home championships in 1943 and 1947, crew in 1941 and 1942, the swimming team in 1943 and 1946–48, and the football team in 1945, capturing its first league title. The decade also saw great teachers who left their mark well past the 1940s. The decade was book-ended by two of these greats: J. B. Murphy, who began his 50-year career in the 1939–40 academic year, and Uncle Frank Corwin, who started his 44-year tenure at SI in 1947.
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