Enrollment at A&M dropped precipitously during the years of World War II. But, such was the case at many American colleges, as the war demanded the involvement of virtually ever able-bodied young man of college age.
By the fall of 1944, the A&M student body numbered approximately 2,000, mostly men, but also a few women. Although enrollment was closed to women in general, some daughters and wives of faculty members were allowed to take classes at the school.
Then, after the war, and thanks in large part to both the G.I. Bill and the positive word of mouth about the school spread by former members of the Corps of Cadets serving as officers in the Armed Forces, A&M experienced a dramatic boost in the number of incoming students.
A plaque on the RELLIS Campus site tells the story of The Annex, which Bryan Field became known as after it was closed following World War II. It reads:
"Immediately after the end of World War II, The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas faced a severe housing and classroom space shortage because of the groundswell of returning veterans. Starting in 1946, facilities were leased at Bryan Army Air Field to house both returning veterans and incoming Corps freshmen classes. This effort produced 'The Annex' which became the first home of the four Aggie Classes of 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953. They lived and studied here during their Fish years. The Aggies at 'The Anne' occupied more than 75 black tar-paper-covered single story barracks with a single common Mess Hall. Each barracks housed 20 students, had no air conditioning and featured shared bathroom facilities.
"Approximately 5,500 Aggies inhabited 'The Annex' during those years and later graduated from the main campus in College Station. 'The Annex' was instrumental in producing over 4,000 officers for the Armed Services, 18 Distinguished Alumni, 28 General Officers, seven Presidents of the Association of Former Students and two Regents for the A&M System.
"This plaque is dedicated to all of those Aggies who lived on 'The Annex'."
Click on a link below to learn more about this period of RELLIS Campus history.