Alfred University News

Plaque from WWII-era cargo ship named for Alfred University finds new home on campus

Alfred University has received a plaque that once adorned the S.S. Alfred Victory ship, which was built during World War II and was part of the U.S. Navy’s fleet. The S.S. Alfred Victory was one of 531 Victory ships that served as cargo vessels and were part of the Navy’s Merchant Marine Fleet; 150 of the ships were named for educational institutions.

The plaque—transferred in September from U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration to Alfred University archivist Laurie Meehan ’91 and delivered to the campus last month—is the builder’s plate which was mounted on the bridge of the engine room of the S.S. Alfred Victory. It will be presented at Alfred University’s celebration of Veteran’s Day on Thursday, Nov. 10.

The S.S. Alfred Victory was constructed in Richmond, CA, and joined the Merchant Marine Fleet on April 11, 1945. “Alfred University feels highly honored in having a Victory ship named for it. It is proud to have its name connected with the war effort in this direct way,” then Alfred University President J. Nelson Norwood said during comments he made at the launch.

“The University appreciates the thought of naming a series of Victory craft for our institutions of higher learning. The services rendered by our colleges and universities in this tragic global conflict have been vast. Possibly this honor has come to them in part in recognition of this patriotic contribution. Also like many other institutions of various kinds, many of our colleges have suffered heavily from the war’s effort.”

During World War II, the S.S. Alfred Victory was operated by the Hammond Shipping Company under charter with the Maritime Commission and War Shipping Administration. On Feb. 14, 1946, she was off Beachy Head in the English Channel when she was involved in a collision with a British coastal collier, the S.S. Fulham VII, which then sank. In 1947 the S.S. Alfred Victory was placed in the James River, Reserve Fleet.

In 1965 the S.S. Alfred Victory was removed from the Reserve Fleet and activated for the Vietnam War as the USNS Antioch. She was one of 12 ships scheduled to be acquired by the United States Navy in February 1966 and converted into Forward Depot Ships for the Military Sea Transport Service. The S.S. Alfred Victory was laid up in Suisun Bay, California, as part of the of the National Defense Reserve Fleet. In 1988 she was scrapped at Kaohsiung.

At Thursday’s Veteran’s Day celebration, Alfred University will host a dinner for military-affiliated students, staff, and faculty from Alfred University and Alfred State College, and the local community. Mark Zupan, Alfred University president, will make comments at the celebration, which was organized by Andrew Burlingame ’22, military and academic coach in Alfred University’s Bernstein Center for Advising. In his comments, Zupan will discuss the S.S. Alfred Victory.