UNIVE [i. ,O .A, LA URA 'i, GAIt .VIt, FL ORIDA VA FE
ALL'N SKA'.', Ji. EDIT
GOAI -:VILLE, Fez. *- General James A. Van Fleet has accepted an
invitation to be a speaker and guest of honor at the first formal cele-
bration of the UTniversity of Florida's Centennial March 19-21.
Announcement of the oeeral's acceptance was lade here today by
University Oreosdent J. Hills Miller, who said the invitation had been
issued on his behalf and on behalf of the entire Florida con ressional
delegation through the office of the U. S. Chief of Staff.
The man who has been called within recent weeks, "the best qualified
corabaL officer In the Armed tIorces" by President hlenhower, la retiring
this week ram his post as field commander in Korea. lie is ol.
In his reply to Dr. miller, general Van Fleoet indicated he would
be on hhe campus d hiring the entire three-day celebration in March, which
will be held in oase. vance of the foaiding of the University 100 years ago.
Other outstanding national figures will also take part in the program,
including Dr. John A. Ha nah, now on leave as president oI Michigan S'Tate
College and presently serving as Assistant secretary of Defense; Dr. Arthur
A. Hauck, president of the University of Ma ne and currently President
of the Association of Land Orrant Colleges and Universitlesa Dr. Virgil M.
Hancher, president of the State University of Iowa, and Dr. Charles F.
Kettering, former Vice 'resident and Director of General Motors.
Ge*., Van Fleet is a familiar figure on the lUni-versity of Florida
cas.aus, having twice been a member of the faculty and a football coach,
as well as having received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree fr-mthat
latit tio n In 1946. He also returned to the campus in 1950 to deol-er
van fleet/add 1
the principal address at Homecomtinf and be guest of hnnor on that occasion.
A native of Bartoy, Pla., Vsin Fleet is known as an aluixnus of the
"fnl ersf ty Inasmu h as he attended `3artow Military Academy. The Academy
was one of several small schools in orporated to form the niverat ty of
ilorida, by act of legislature, in 1905.
de served as professor of military science and tactics at the
Untersity of florida from 1921 to 1924, and during th t ti le was head
football coach for two years. In 1j214, he left the University for a tour
of duty ih Panama, coached the U. S. Military Acade y football team, and
was a student in the advanced Course of the Infantry School.
Returning to the Univers. tt in 1929, Ven ileet served as varsity
line coach under famed Coach Charlie 8achrian. In 1946, he was honored
by the University with a "Van Fleet Day" and was then awarded the honorary
During, horld War 11, his 8th Infantry R giment spearheaded the
landing- of the ith and Q0th Infantry Divisi ns--the 90th being rated
by Gen. George Patton as the greatest fighting diviasi n on the Weat rn
Front. After a short tour of duty In England, Gen. Van Vleet was recalled
to command the Third Corps which led the First ,trmy drive Into ,ermany.
Americans probably came to know him best fr m i'ebr.ary 1948 to July
1950 when he was chief of the American Mission for Aid to Greece and
director of the Joint U. S. Advisory and Planning Group.
A citation (second oak cluster to the Distlrmuiahed Service Medal)
for his services in Jreece saLd in part: During the period when guerrilla
activitiefin Greece were such that a combined security and stability of
the lotion and its doverntuent were extremely questionable he provided
superior leadership and sound operational advice that served to inspire
the Greek military leadership ..."
van flesc/ add 2
After returning to this country for a short tour of duty he was
sent to Korea' to take Command of the 8th Army in the field. Tbis was
at the tli-e of Oan. MaoArthur's retirement and Oen. Ridgeway's advancement
to overall eomaand of fighting forces in the Par East.
Gen. Van Fleet's invitation to return to the Florida ea pus was
sent immediately after Dr. Miller visited President Eisenhower in late
The telegram of invitation wired through Ariy channels on oebilf
of President Miller and the Florida delegation reads "The University of
laorda is celeorati g ita Centeninlal March 19 to 21, at which time thousands
of Alumni will return to Uaineaville. During an interview with arealdent
Lisenhower yesterday, we extended a warm invitation for him to be our
guest during the Centennial Year. He is giving sympathetic consideration
to our request, but participation March 21 appears improbable. Our next
highest hope la to have you as guest of honor, r State of ilcorida and
the University of Florida would wish to be first or among the first to
pay you homage on your return. May we have your favoraule reply."