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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Summer internships can help pave the road to future employment

Spring has barely arrived in Vermont, but summer is close behind. Do you know how you are spending your summer break?

If you are like the vast majority of Norwich students, you probably spend the weeks between mid-May and mid-August engaged in temporary employment of one kind or another; but have you considered how your summer job might benefit your future?

Since its founding, Norwich University has promoted experiential learning as a method of acquiring real-world skills and competencies that prepare its graduates for useful, practical professions. Internships are one means to that end.

Usually, entry-level internships may not pay as much as, say, working for your uncle on a construction site, but they will pay huge dividends later in terms of building a career. Today’s job market is highly competitive—companies listing job openings are inundated with applications. Being able to list real-life experience on your resume can make the difference between landing an interview and being round-filed. In fact, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, nearly 70 percent of interns nationwide are offered full-time jobs at their internship site, and nearly two thirds of people hired straight out of college have some internship experience.

There are a number of tools and techniques available on campus to help you find and apply for internships. Familiarize yourself with the Career and Internship Center on the top floor of the Wise Campus Center. Their friendly, knowledgeable staff is experienced in helping students find and apply for jobs and internships being offered in Vermont and elsewhere. They can also teach you how to conduct your own job search using online tools. Email or dial extension 2125 to schedule an appointment with Jim Graves, the internship coordinator.

Once you have identified which positions you are qualified for, the staff at the Career and Internship Center can walk you through the processes of building a resume and drafting a cover letter. They will even set up a mock interview so that when the time comes you will be poised and prepared. Learn more about their services at

Another way for Norwich students to pursue internships or jobs is to tap into the alumni network. Norwich graduates span the globe. No matter what your field, there are alumni employed by companies eager to hire Norwich students and graduates.

This year’s spring career fair is this Thursday, March 24 in Plumley Armory, from 12 to 3:30 p.m. Many of the representatives staffing the display tables are Norwich grads who have come to campus to actively recruit for their companies or agencies. They love talking with Norwich students, so take advantage of this fabulous opportunity to get face-to-face with alumni and discuss your future.

For students, ‘Coaching for Leadership’ is a vital opportunity not to be missed

You may have heard the quote, “Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.” What this means is that leadership is ultimately about doing and being – regardless of one’s station in life. It mirrors our university mission statement, which reads, in part, “We shall give our youth an education that … will enable them to act … ”

Every Norwich student, no matter what path they choose, can and will lead at some point in their career. It is inevitable, and is why leadership coaching is so critical to one’s future success. [Read more…]

Honoring the honor code

Recently, across several college and university campuses around the country, students and faculty members have raised the alarm about racism in response to incidents of harassment. As president at the oldest senior military college in the nation, the birthplace of ROTC and the place where leaders are produced, it is my duty to confront the reality of the insidious issues of racism and other forms of harassment in our own population. To that end, Norwich provides not only resources for responding to issues, but also the education and infrastructure to promote, support and enforce ideas of honorable living, which are at the heart of prevention.

Any person in the Norwich community experiencing harassment – racism, sexism, sexual assault, bullying, or any other kind – needs to know where they can turn for support.

• Our Employee Relations, Equal Opportunity and Title IX officer, Stephanie Drew, receives reports of misconduct and oversees investigations into them. Any member of the community can make a report to her office, which is located on the third floor of Jackman Hall.

• The Washington County Sexual Assault Crisis Team is a community partner with office space located in Marselius Hall, below the infirmary. We have been working with the Washington County Sexual Assault Crisis Team since the 1990s because they are victim advocates and the experts in the county. Together with their incredible work we are all stronger. Through this coordination, students and community members have access to the best resources; a range of options in dealing with these violent crimes and a level of accountability to the outside community and to the experts that address this issue in Washington County. Anyone can seek counsel there and remain anonymous until they wish to initiate an investigation.

• Counseling and Psychological Services provides free of charge to members of the Norwich community – students, faculty and staff – individual and group counseling in a confidential setting. In addition, thematic groups and psychoeducational workshops can be provided in response to specific needs. These services are conducted by a highly trained staff of licensed professional psychologists and doctoral level psychology interns. That office is located in Kreitzberg Library, Suite 405 or can be reached after hours (M-F 8-4:30) at 802-793-3093.

• Campus security is prepared to assist with any report of harassment and is located in the Hayden Building or by calling ext. 2525 or 2499.

• Less formally, any member of the faculty or staff can be a resource to a student or peer in need.

When Norwich students were getting harassed on social media last fall, I took action to both block the anonymous messaging site from Norwich servers and to order an investigation into the incident. I and the entire leadership at Norwich are committed to creating and promoting a safe environment for all.

The Honor Code provides a good compass to encourage honorable behavior. Integrity is the basis for honorable living and can be honed by internalizing the Norwich Guiding Values. By doing that, community members will possess knowledge, integrity and awareness to assess the moral-ethical aspects of every situation and the personal courage to take appropriate action regardless of consequences.

Norwich seeks to develop leaders of character. When you come to Norwich, you agree to follow these Guiding Values:

• We are men and women of honor and integrity. We shall not tolerate those who lie, cheat, or steal.
• We are dedicated to learning, emphasizing teamwork, leadership, creativity, and critical thinking.
• We respect the right to diverse points of view as a cornerstone of our democracy.
• We encourage service to nation and others before self.
• We stress being physically fit and drug free.
• To live the Norwich motto—I will try!—meaning perseverance in the face of adversity.
• We stress self-discipline, personal responsibility, and respect for law.
• We hold in highest esteem our people and reputation.

‘Run. Hide. Fight.’ Here’s a guide to survive an active shooter event

According to Time Magazine, there have been 23 college campus shootings in 2015. From a campus safety perspective, Norwich has been thinking about and planning for this issue for a long time. We have our siren, which indicates that everyone should shelter in place, and we have the RAVE communications system, which we use to send messages to the phone, email and texting contacts you have provided in your Banner profile. We have practiced how to shelter in place and we regularly test our siren and RAVE systems.
The reality is that no organization can plan for every scenario. Over the years we have learned that these types of campus shooter events can play out in a matter of minutes any time, any where and for any range of reasons. The new conventional wisdom says that you should do what makes the most sense to save your life in the moment. [Read more…]

Embrace the spirit of research

Before I came to Norwich, one of my previous positions was as vice president of research at Drexel University in Philadelphia. There I oversaw faculty and student research at the doctoral, masters and undergraduate levels. Time and again I got to see not only the accomplishment of research well done, but more importantly, I observed students and professors engaging in the process that is research. [Read more…]

The President’s Corner

Two weekends ago, we executed a very successful Homecoming Weekend, which brought more than 1,000 NU alumni and family members on campus for three days of reunions and celebrations. I hope many of you had the opportunity to speak to our alumni while they were here. They are extremely interested in what you are doing, and enjoy exchanging Norwich stories with you.

The main reason we hold reunions in the fall is so that alumni can experience a vibrant campus full of young people, and interact with them. It reminds them of when they were students, and also gives them a chance to see how Norwich has changed since they were on the Hill—as well as how it hasn’t changed.

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Be a part of history

It is not every day that you are invited to be a part of history. But on April 25 of this year, you will have the opportunity to do precisely that.
For nearly 200 years, Norwich University has adhered to the founding principles laid down by Captain Alden Partridge. From our mission to train citizen soldiers to our commitment to experiential learning, nearly everything we do here at Norwich can be traced back to our founder’s vision. [Read more…]

The President’s Corner

Certainly by now, most of you reading this have heard of the Colby Military Writers’ Symposium, which takes place each spring on the Norwich campus. Named for former Ambassador and CIA Director William E. Colby, the two-day event exposes students, faculty, alumni, and the public to the works and views of prominent authors, historians, journalists, diplomats, and other national figures. The 2015 symposium will take place on Wednesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 9. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]