The Citadel's Class of 1944 never had a commencement ceremony because every member was called up during their junior year to serve in World War II.

But all the remaining members of that group, known as "the class that never was," will be honored Saturday at the commencement of the Class of 2008.

The Class of 1944's Col. Bob Adden, who will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, said all class members who are alive are invited.

It's a school tradition for the senior class president to speak at graduation. On Saturday, A. Lee Chandler, 85, retired chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, will speak for the Class of 1944.

The Citadel's Alumni Association is not sure how many class members are alive today, but it has addresses for 116 of the original 549 cadets.

Adden, 85, said he expects about 16 of them to attend the ceremony Saturday, 64 years after the group would have graduated.

Adden was one of about 152 from the class who returned to The Citadel and graduated. Many others eventually graduated from other colleges or jumped immediately into jobs.

Thirty-four members died in the war. Their names appear on a plaque on the front wall of the college's Summerall Chapel.

Adden said after he and his classmates were called to serve in their junior year, "all we were thinking about was getting into basic training."

Class members were given their Citadel rings late in their junior year, the only class to ever receive them early.

Adden still proudly wears his.

He spent much of the war in Northern Germany with the 84th Infantry Division until he was seriously wounded when he was shot six times with a German machine pistol, known as a "burp gun," he said.

He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V, a Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge.

Chandler, who has been close friends with Adden for more than 60 years, said he's proud of his class, the members of which "didn't even flinch" when they were called to serve.

He's also proud, he said, that "we ended up just as much a class" as other groups that graduated from The Citadel.

Chandler said he and many others with ties to the school think Adden truly deserves the honorary degree.

Adden said he returned to The Citadel after the war and graduated with honors in 1947. He graduated on a Saturday, he said, and started teaching at The Citadel the following Monday. He taught at the school for the next 38 years, except for three years when he was working on his master's and doctoral degrees. For 20 of those years, he was head of the school's Department of Business Administration.

While at the school, he said, he taught more than 6,000 students, including former Citadel President Lt. Gen. Claudius Watts and the school's current President Lt. Gen. John Rosa.

Although everybody hates the school the first year they're enrolled, Adden said, people grow to love it.

"Once you're here, you're here," he said.


TRIDENT TECHNICAL COLLEGE: 7 p.m., Friday, North Charleston Coliseum. Speaker: Tom Stubbins, vice president of human resources for Vought Aircraft Industries.

THE CITADEL: 9:30 a.m. Saturday, McAlister Field House. Speaker: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

CHARLESTON SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY: 10 a.m. Saturday, North Charleston Coliseum. Speaker: George Greene, president of Water Missions International.

SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY: 7 p.m. May 9. Speaker: Oliver C. Dawson Stadium, Zanzibar President Amani Karume.

COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON: 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. May 10, Cistern Yard. Speaker: Ronald A. Tschetter, director of the Peace Corps.

CHARLESTON SCHOOL OF LAW:2 p.m. May 10. The Citadel's McAlister Field House. Speaker: Jan Crawford Greenberg, ABC News legal correspondent.

MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: 9 a.m. May 16, on the Horseshoe. Speaker: Kenneth Kizer, CEO of Medsphere Systems.