The American Legion National College enhances knowledge and appreciation of The American Legion, and teaches the core values and contributions of the organization, its Auxiliary, Sons of The American Legion and many subordinate programs. The National Legion College prepares Legionnaires for leadership positions in posts, districts, counties, and departments through education, development, and motivation. The curriculum challenges student leaders to think critically and creatively about issues confronting the Legion.
Legion College Course Structure
The curriculum centers on self-taught, small-group sessions supervised by graduate facilitators, staff members, contracted professional speakers and national officers. Students review The American Legion’s core values, develop new ideas and consider the future. An emphasis is placed on programs, management techniques and leadership skills necessary to increase visibility of programs, growth in membership, and public awareness of the Legion and its corresponding organizations.
Leadership and Communication
National leaders launch the week with sessions and lectures focusing on mentoring, recognizing and building leadership traits, and putting good leadership practices to use. These skills and techniques are practiced and reinforced throughout the week in a small-group environment and in student-led meetings and presentations. Small-group workshops provide students basic leadership training in a volunteer environment. Core subjects include mentoring, leadership styles and opportunities, time management, conflict resolution and legal issues.
Throughout the week, students learn the basics of developing communication strategies to promote American Legion programs, combined with the workshops and hands-on exercises. Topics include public outreach, media relations, “Reconnect” with today’s active-duty and reserve personnel, schools and community relations.
Salesmanship and Marketing Developed skills make students more valuable to their posts and departments. Students’ employers also directly benefit from students’ increased effectiveness and productivity. Teachings include community networking strategies, public-relations techniques, marketing and salesmanship programs, and image-building techniques.
For more information, contact Internal Affairs at (317) 630-1330.
The American Legion College began at the 1944 National Convention with Resolution No. 138 and was created to help educate and integrate veterans joining the Legion after World War II. The first two Legion College sessions convened at National Headquarters in Indianapolis in July and December 1946, and covered a variety of topics, including Legion Service Work, Youth Programs, Child Welfare, Legion Legislation, Veterans Preference, Community Service Programs, and Legion Public Relations and Speeches.
Additional sessions from 1947 to 1949 trained hundreds of future Legion leaders. A session in December 1950 was canceled because enrollment requirements weren’t met, but with the influx of Korean War veterans, two more sessions were conducted in 1954. By 1955, a number of departments were already offering their own Legion Colleges. This became the preferred method for training future leaders due to budgetary considerations and the ability to offer Legion education to more Legionnaires through their departments.
The national-level Legion College was reinstituted based on recommendations from the 1997 21st-Century Ad Hoc Committee report. The first Legion College since 1954 convened in November 1999, with 34 Legionnaires participating. Legion College continues to be an annual event that educates students in leadership, management and communication.