Artifacts from the S.S. Hobart Victory, a World War II “victory ship,” have returned to the Colleges after nearly half a century. Located in the Warren Hunting Smith Library, these relics are on long-term loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, courtesy of Hobart alumnus Grady E. Jensen ‘44.
The S.S. Hobart Victory was built for the U.S. Maritime Commission by the Permanente Metals Corporation’s Shipbuilding Division at Yard No. 1 in Richmond, Calif., to join cargo and transport ships to provide Allied Forces worldwide with necessary supplies. The shipyard’s owner, Henry J. Kaiser Sc.D ’43, holds an honorary degree from Hobart College.
Sponsored by the wife of Senator Tom Conally of Texas, the S.S. Hobart Victory was launched on Friday, May 25, 1945, to send supplies to Allied troops in Japan. Approximately 100 out of these 531 victory ships were named in honor of American colleges and universities.
A veritable world-traveler, the S.S. Hobart Victory anchored around the world during World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean conflict and has toured the globe during peacetime to India, Egypt, Italy, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, Iran, Germany, Belgium, Hawaii, France, Lebanon, Morocco, Korea, Japan as well as the Suez and Panama Canals.
Thanks to Jensen, a World War II veteran and self-described “history buff,” artifacts from the vessel have made their way to Geneva. Jensen asked the Administration for artifacts from the vessel if it were ever dismantled. Shortly after donating the artifacts to his alma mater, Jensen hired a professional model-maker to create a 16-inch miniature of the ship, which he also gave to the Colleges.
As a student at the Colleges, Jensen earned his first-year numerals in football, played two years of lacrosse, served as literary editor of the yearbook, and was a member of Kappa Sigma. Upon graduation, Jensen became a pilot the U.S. Navy, and subsequently enrolled in the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his Master of Business Administration in 1949.
During a distinguished business career that spanned nearly 50 years, Jensen worked for Chase Manhattan, American Express, The Harwood Companies, New York University and Columbia University, retiring in 1996 as Executive Director of Senior Personnel Employment.
Since then, Jensen has given back to his alma mater through his work as Alumni Trustee, Vice President and President of the Hobart Club of New York, six-time Reunion Coordinator, member of the Hobart Sesquicentennial Steering Committee, and Class Correspondent. He was awarded an Alumni Citation for loyalty and service to his alma mater in both 1984 and 1994.