President’s Corner

The Class of 1923 is credited with having established what is arguably the most revered tradition at Norwich University today: the Class Ring. More than 90 years ago, Class of 1923 members R. T. Wilson, F. I. Styles and E. F. Marchant had a vision for what the ring would symbolize—a vision that has stood the test of time. They wrote, “This ring will then mean as much to the [the person] wearing it as [their Norwich] diploma, and once the custom is started and lived up to every year, the alumni will appreciate more and more what a ring of this nature stands for. It is hoped that the following classes will follow the steps the Class of 1923 has taken, and make the Norwich ring a true Norwich tradition.”

Every spring, the junior class looks forward with great anticipation to Junior Ring Weekend. Since their first days on The Hill, they have been eyeing and admiring the rings on the hands of the seniors, and they can’t wait until they finally get theirs. The weekend is the culmination of three years of hard work, and a rite of passage marked with formal ceremonies and informal celebrations.

Something I have learned in my 22 years as president of your University is that Norwich folks love their traditions. Whether it is something that dates back to the days of Alden Partridge, like the three columns of buttons on the Norwich dress blues, or one that started last fall, like the appearance of our new mascot, “Aldy,” at events around campus, traditions are what connect Norwich students to the University, and Norwich alumni to each other.

But as wonderful as the ring tradition is, bear in mind that a Norwich ring on your right hand doesn’t “make you” a member of the Norwich family any more than a wedding band on your left hand “makes you” married. Rather, it is a constant reminder of what got you to this point in time, and an emblem encompassing your hopes and dreams for everything that will follow. It ties together the past and the future—one known and one unknown—where YOU are the only constant.

If ever you find yourself in a situation where you are faced with a difficult choice—and I guarantee there will be many such situations in your future—look down at the ring finger of your right hand. Think about your Norwich experience, and reflect upon how it prepared you for this moment. Look at that ring, and know that you are not alone, but have the whole of the Norwich family watching your back.

Norwich Forever!

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