Thoughts on taking on challenges, and finding resources to succeed

At Norwich, we challenge our students every day in every way possible. We believe that it is through challenge that we find our upper limits and learn to distinguish ourselves. It is only though pushing beyond our limits that we find our true potential.

Spring is a very busy time of year as students wrap up their work for another year. In just the past several weeks, Pegasus Players were busy developing and performing their one-act plays; students are buttoning up undergraduate research to showcase during Student Scholarship Celebration Week April 29 – May 3; ROTC conducted field training exercises; sports teams have been and continue to hustle as much as ever; the David Crawford School of Engineering held its annual end-of-year convocation where students present final projects; and, of course, all students are preparing for final exams and capstone projects, and much more.

It is also a time to celebrate students’ accomplishments through academic showcases, honor society inductions, ROTC’s Tri-Service Awards, commencement and commissioning exercises. This graduating class comprises Norwich’s Bicentennial Class. It is worth noting that when the Class of 2019 celebrates its 50th reunion and enters into the “Old Guard,” Norwich will be celebrating its 250th anniversary!

It is up to each and every one of us to ensure that you as individuals thrive so that as a whole Norwich University can thrive and continue to offer the citizen-soldier model of service to students and to the nation.

Many Norwich students take on many challenges, and that drive to excel is just one of the many qualities that distinguish Norwich students from students at other colleges and universities. At Norwich, through the progressive four-year leadership program, you cultivate grit and determination. It also means that things can get pretty tough and especially now when you are just a few weeks away from completing another semester or getting ready to graduate. I know you are pulled in many different directions: from the completion of your academics, to sports and ROTC and Corps duties and trainings and other ways that you commit yourself to growth and service.

Because this can be an extra-challenging time, now is precisely the time to dig down deep inside of yourself to draw on your grit and your core values. It is also the time to look outward to all the resources there are here to support your hard work. Now is the time to rely on friends, family, professors, mentors, Norwich staff and faculty. The Counseling and Wellness Center is a consistent resource as is the Career and Internship Center. We are all here to support your education, your growth, your student experience to its successful completion.

For inspiration, we can all look to the recent promotion of Tracey Poirier to colonel in the Vermont National Guard. Tracey has a lot to offer the Norwich community for inspiration: As a student, Tracey was Norwich’s first Rhodes Scholar; she served as a U.S. Marine; she serves as one of Norwich’s assistant vice presidents, and as of last week, Tracey has become the first female commander of the 124th Regiment Regional Training Institute, and the sixth female colonel in the history of the Vermont National Guard.

Tracey began working at Norwich University in 2007 and has served as the Director of Annual Giving and the Director of the International Center. She also instructs classes in anthropology and leadership. She is responsible for the Leadership Development of the student body (both Corps of Cadets and civilian) as well as the Center for Civic Engagement, the Shaw Outdoor Center and Student Activities. She graduated from Norwich University in 1996 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Communications. She went on to complete her graduate education at Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar earning two Master’s degrees, one in anthropology and one in human resource management. Tracey and I were “rooks” together, when we both arrived at Norwich in 1992.

We are lucky to be surrounded by such excellent inspiration and resources. As you work through this most challenging time, remember who you are, where you come from and what you represent. You have what it takes to succeed, and the resources to support you.

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