President’s Corner

Norwich prides itself in educating the whole person – mind, body, and character. For that reason, Norwich offers students a wealth of opportunities to broaden their education in varied and interesting ways, both inside and outside the classroom.

On Friday, Feb. 20, we welcome LTC Francisco Leija to campus. Leija is a Norwich alumnus, having earned a Master of Arts in Diplomacy from our College of Graduate and Continuing Studies in 2006. One of only 15 individuals appointed to the 2014-2015 Class of White House Fellows, he is spending this year as Special Advisor to the Secretary, Department of Homeland Security.
Leija began his military career as a private with a high-school diploma, serving in Military Intelligence through the rank of sergeant. He has since earned a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees, earned a commission as an Army officer in Field Artillery, deployed to Iraq as a battery commander, served for 12 months as an inter-service exchange officer attending the Amphibious Warfare School with the U.S. Marine Corps, taught tactics at West Point, and worked with the Joint Chiefs of Staff (J7) as the lead planner for the Pacific Command’s Simulations Exercise Program.
His military certifications include airborne, ranger, rappel master, and multiple mountaineering courses. In addition, he has been awarded two bronze Stars and the Purple Heart.
LTC Leija will be joined by fellow White House Fellows Dr. Sharon Richie and Judy Rosenstreich for a panel discussion on their life-changing White House experiences tomorrow, from 1600-1730 in Webb Hall. I encourage you to take time out of your busy schedules to learn more about the White House Fellow program.
The following day Norwich students have the opportunity to take part in the Third Annual Brian R. Bill ’01 Memorial Challenge, an 8K military-style obstacle course race beginning at 0700. In keeping with our Year of Service, proceeds from the event will benefit a scholarship named for fallen Navy SEAL Brian R. Bill ’01, a member of the famed Team 6. I know that many of you are registered for the race, but if you aren’t, please cheer on your friends as they honor the memory of one of our distinguished alumni.
This weekend also marks the finale of the NU Launch! Business Pitch Competition. The months-long entrepreneurship program culminates this Saturday, when a select group of teams will pitch their venture plans to an advisory panel comprising Board of Fellows’ Visiting Committee members from the School of Business & Management, and representatives from the Vermont “starter ecosystem.” On the line is $7,000 in seed funding to be invested in Norwich student businesses.
Come to Milano Ballroom at 1230 to network with business professionals, support friends who are competing, and get inspired to start a business venture of your own.
I hope you will take advantage of these exciting opportunities, whether as a participant or a spectator. The experiential-learning model established by our founder, Captain Alden Partridge, broadens knowledge, strengthens the body, and develops character. And supporting your classmates builds the kind of camaraderie Norwich alumni across the globe value throughout their lives.

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