Veterans made up more than half of the student body at the University of Colorado in 1947 as the Boulder campus accommodated a post-World War II enrollment boom that mixed mature students who had been to war and back with fuzzy-cheeked freshmen.
Now at CU, however, university officials estimate that roughly 400 veterans are enrolled on the Boulder campus -- making up just 1 percent of the student body.
The return of veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan hasn't had the impact as the flood of former soldiers who populated colleges campuses after World War II.
Historians credit the 1944 introduction of GI benefits for opening up higher education's doors to the middle class. CU added dorms and secured cottages in Chautauqua Park in response to the sudden surge in enrollment of returning soldiers. The University Club at the center of campus served as an overflow dorm for women. Students wanted the planned University Memorial Center to be dedicated to veterans of world wars.
While not as monumental, the Sept. 11 attacks have brought about changes to modern-day campus life.
At CU, the return of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans eventually prompted the revitalization of a veteran's affairs office, which had become dormant following Vietnam and reopened on the Boulder campus in 2007.
The terrorist attacks also created a renewed interest in the Army's Reserved Officer Training Corps programs and influenced college curriculum, with students filling up Arabic language classes.
CU first began offering Arabic courses in 1966, according to Clint Talbott, a spokesman for the College of Arts and Sciences.
But in the last decade, a program review of international affairs -- a degree-track that requires students to learn a foreign language -- found that there needed to be a broader range of language offerings. Language classes teaching Arabic, along with Farsi, Hebrew and Hindi, have an increased presence on campus.
Patrick D'Silva, who is a CU instructor of Arabic, said that there's a high student demand for the classes -- and he's been receiving e-mails from students waitlisted for his courses hoping space opens up. The language program, he said, is ripe for expansion because of the demonstrated demand.
D'Silva teaches three different levels, and, he said, about 90 CU students are in the Arabic language program.
He said his language courses draw a variety of students, including war veterans, students in ROTC programs prepping for service and undergraduates majoring in international affairs who want to work in the Arab world.
He's also noticed a growing number of graduate students in religious studies who want to take Arabic to complement their Islamic studies.
The attacks also made it difficult for colleges, including CU, to continue internationalizing their campuses because foreign, American-bound students had problems getting visas, driver's licenses and other required documents.
Last fall, CU-Boulder enrolled 1,363 international students, which marked a full rebound in foreign students since the post-9/11 slump.
Tighter security measures in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks caused the number of foreign students studying at CU to drop from 1,165 to 912 by fall of 2005 -- reflecting a national trend.