A momentous milestone for Norwich, and personal milestones as well

The Class of 2019 is getting ready to wrap up their college careers and carry the distinction of being the bicentennial class. This is the most important time for our graduates as they venture out into the world and make their mark in the world. We all are so very proud of your accomplishments and for representing our bicentennial year! This class is so fortunate because when you come back to celebrate your 50th, Norwich will be celebrating its 250th anniversary!

At Norwich, behind only graduation and commissioning ceremonies in terms of milestones, are the Junior Ring ceremonies. As the Class of 2020 is the final class for whom I will have been president for all four of their Norwich years, those ceremonies took on an even more significant meaning to me this year.

In addition, the Class of 2020 was Norwich’s largest incoming class, which inspired me to take my first ever all-class selfie with them when they arrived at Norwich three years ago. I promised them that I would take a final selfie with the entire class at commencement. Next year, I look forward to doing that.

Two really memorable moments happened this year at the Junior Ring ceremonies. The Corps and civilian students have two separate ring ceremonies, so every year I figure out how to attend both!

This year, the cadet class of 2020 honored me by inviting me to their ring unveiling, where they announced they had added two stars to their ring design in my honor. No class has ever done that for me, and for that I am so grateful.

In their ceremony, the civilian Class of 2020 also did something no other class has done: They purchased and presented me with their class ring. I was equally moved. Indeed, the entire Class of 2020 is very special to me.

The entire Class of 2020, both Corps and Civilian who received their rings this spring, is living proof of the value of a diverse and inclusive student body.

I am in a similar position as this class. Next year, when they graduate, I will retire. That makes them my last senior class. So in that sense, we are members of the same class.

To the entire Class of 2020: You are leaders of character and principle, forging your own paths, making contributions to your communities and to the world at large. Thank you for your hard work that has earned you the right to wear your class ring. Wear it with pride; you all deserve it. And thank you for the great distinction you bestowed upon me through your Junior Ring ceremonies; I will never forget it!

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. [Read more…]

The President’s Corner

Don’t ignore valuable internships

The Annual Spring Career Fair, held last week in Plumley Armory, presented 57 employers to 330 students who attended to explore opportunities to enhance their academic learning with real world experiences. One of those employers was represented by a 2002 NU graduate named Robert Kipp, who took the opportunity a step further, meeting with a group of students following the Career Fair to give them advice.
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The President’s Corner


President Schneider. Photo by Norwich University

At Norwich University, your college experience includes world-class academics, and a robust and enriching campus full of opportunities that range from membership in the Corps of Cadets to athletics, outdoor activities on Payne Mt., to cultural events and many varied student clubs and intramural sports.

In order to better understand how administrative decisions affect the student experience, it is necessary to survey the community every now and again, and we are currently involved in that process now. There are two different surveys: one just for first year students and seniors, the second for all full-time matriculated students.

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The President’s Corner

Want a voice in what happens at Norwich? Join the SGA, and vote

Student Government Association (SGA) elections are coming up Feb. 25 – March 1. This is a great opportunity for you to exercise your right to participate in the shared governance of the university. The SGA is the student organization that is committed to working on maintaining a positive relationship between the student body and the administration by serving as a hub for communication and the source of problem-solving efforts for issues of concern to students.

The SGA is a vital component to student life on campus and works closely with the faculty senate and staff council to work out issues. This is what it means to be an engaged citizen. Students: I implore you to vote in a couple weeks. Then, next year, run for office and learn first-hand what it means to govern. The opportunities for effecting meaningful change for the everyday life of students and the community are limitless.

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Norwich’s legacy of innovation will be showcased in April symposium

Norwich University has long been at the forefront of innovation, beginning with its visionary founder, Captain Alden Partridge. Two hundred years ago this July, Partridge’s radical views on education cost him his post as superintendent of West Point. And yet, his prescient ideas about experiential learning, educating across the disciplines, and preparing youth to “discharge, in the best possible manner, the duties they owe to themselves, to their fellow-men, and to their country,” are more relevant today than they have ever been. [Read more…]

22nd Annual Colby Symposium offers a look back at the legacy of World War I

  “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” –Aldous Huxley

One hundred years ago today, on April 6, 2017, the United States formally entered World War I. In the months leading up to that day, President Woodrow Wilson officially severed diplomatic ties with Germany, and our nation readied itself for war. Six weeks later, the first U.S. infantry troops landed in France to begin training for combat.

The entrance of U.S. military forces into the four-year long global conflict helped turn the tide in favor of an Allied victory, but at a tremendous cost to American lives. When the Armistice was signed on Nov.11, 1918, of the more than two million U.S. soldiers who served on the battlefields of Western Europe, some 116,000 made the supreme sacrifice, 14 of them Norwich alumni. [Read more…]

With heads held high, Norwich band, drill team did school proud

Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States (1801–1809), and one of the influential framers of the Constitution, was the first U.S. president to be inaugurated at the Capitol in Washington D.C., a city he helped plan. In his first inaugural speech, delivered on March 4, 1801, he said the famous words that are paraphrased in the Norwich University mission statement: “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union …, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which … opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

I bring this up because I received some negative feedback not long ago in response to the news that our Regimental Band and Drill Team would be performing in President Donald Trump’s inaugural parade. Now mind you, the vast majority of the feedback we received was overwhelmingly supportive of our students, but there were some detractors who were upset that our students were participating at all, and others who were unhappy with the statement that our students were “representing Vermont.”

We live in a country where, thankfully, difference of opinion is tolerated. It is our right as American citizens to think as we choose—a right that many have fought and given their lives for. But it is important to remember that opinions are not the same thing as principles. Two sentences prior to the above quote, Jefferson says: “Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.” I believe he is alluding to our Constitution, which comprises several principles, among them, the sovereignty of the people, the limitations of government, the separation of power, checks and balances, and so on. It is these democratic principles which guarantee Americans their freedoms and unify us as a people, regardless of our differing opinions.

Whether our students were consciously aware of it or not, these unifying principles were front and center at their performance on Jan. 20, 2017. They marched not just for Norwich University, but also for our democracy, for our founder, Alden Partridge, and for all Norwich alumni since Alonzo Jackman, our first graduate. With heads held high, they marched absent of any political agenda, and with only pride for their regiment, their university, and their country.

As Norwich University’s president, I could not be prouder of our students for continuing this Norwich tradition—one that dates back to the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961. At least one member of the class of 1963 who marched in that parade recalls being starstruck as he caught sight of the young president—so much so that he stopped beating the bass drum. In true Norwich fashion, the other band members continued on in perfect step, not missing a beat, until the bass drum struck up again two measures later. Such opportunities as this bring honor and prestige to our university, and help to form the Norwich bonds and memories that last a lifetime.

Take responsibility for your future

As we approach the end of the fall semester and the beginning of the long winter break, our students ought to be thinking about their futures—both immediate and long-term. The weeks away from the Hill afford underclassmen the opportunity to start lining up summer employment or internships, while seniors should be finalizing their post-Norwich plans.

The future is not something you should put off addressing. As young adults, the decisions you make now will impact your life for a long time to come. Set goals for yourself and work toward them diligently. Make a new year’s resolution to visit the Career and Internship center weekly when you return from break, and utilize the resources they provide. [Read more…]

An American Journey: General Gordon R. Sullivan, ’59

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “…our responsibility as lucky Americans is to try to give back to this country as much as it has given us, as we continue our American journey together.”

I personally know of few individuals who have lived their lives according to that quote more than 32nd Army Chief of Staff General Gordon R. Sullivan, Norwich Class of 1959.

Raised under humble circumstances in Quincy, Mass., Gordon Sullivan enrolled at Norwich in 1955 as a scholarship student, served as a waiter in the mess hall, penned a column for the Guidon, worked construction in the summers, and graduated as a senior buck. He is not ashamed to admit he is the last person his classmates would have predicted would rise to the highest-ranking position in the United States Army. 

But, as General Sullivan has said many times, Norwich allowed him to discover who he really was. He credits his unlikely transformation to what he calls “Norwich’s secret sauce”—a unique combination of tradition, training, and esprit de corps that takes undeveloped adolescents and molds them into leaders of character.

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