The University at war

As we saw through Rector Lori’s words, the commitment of the “university family”, as he defines it, in the conflict is very remarkable; a consistent number of students, as professors and assistants, voluntarily enlists. The University activities continue during war, despite the massive enrollment. The academic course goes on, with lessons, examination and gratuation sessions, even if there are some gaps due to the absence of some teachers. It is quite interesting to notice the mark left by the conflict on such “ordinary” issues. In this regard, viewing the degree “papiri” can provide some clues.

Take for example Giovanni Faggioli’s papiro, graduated in Chemistry-Pharmacy on 31 may 1915: 

Papiro di Giovanni Faggioli, 31 maggio 1915, BC

In rhyming verses, typical of the local tradition of the "papiri", we find formulas such as The cannon voice / calls you to the borders, which refers to the graduate's imminent departure for the front, to fight for the glory of the nation and to write history, defying even death. An ideal in which we could still see the traces of Romanticism and that we consider far from the reality of war, but that reflects the representation of heroism and recklessness that will later be sewn over the image of the fallen young men.

Papiro di Antonio Graziani, maggio 1916, BC

We can find the same themes even in the new military doctor Antonio Graziani; graduated in 1916, he seems to be ready to leave to the rescue of the injured: an honorable humanitarian mission to which the noblest and most glorious principle drives him.

The ordinary life of university students thus continues while maintaining contact with that of their comrades at the frontas we can see in some documents as those proposed. The commitment of the Athenaeum to the defense of the nation is carried out on two sides, that we could define civil and military. Rector Ferdinando Lori emphasizes this aspect, as Guido Solitro testifies in his chronicle, when he quotes

"To the lucky young people who will be able to serve their homelands with weapons and to those who, with less luck, but with egual fervour, will serve them with civil works."

The student reality and the reality at the front seem to go hand in hand during these fateful years, distant yet close. A third dimension, or rather experience, is added to these two, combining them in the territory of San Giorgio di Nogaro, in Udine province.