Norwich is heightening efforts to help veterans deal with wide range of issues

Vermont National Guard veteran Chris Pond displays the Norwich banner while serving in Afghanistan. He struggled to get back into Norwich when he returned but is now graduating in the class of 2016. The university is overhauling how it addresses veterans issues to make their re-entry easier.

Vermont National Guard veteran Chris Pond displays the Norwich banner while serving in Afghanistan. He struggled to get back into Norwich when he returned but is now graduating in the class of 2016. The university is overhauling how it addresses veterans issues to make their re-entry easier.

Chris Pond enlisted in the National Guard his junior year of high school. Attending training over the summer months, the Braintree, Mass., resident was a soldier even before he chose to attend Norwich University as a Rook.

During his sophomore year, the Vermont National Guard was deployed to Afghanistan, Pond along with them. For nine months he worked as Blackhawk helicopter crew chief before returning home.

Upon coming back, he found he had been completely dis-enrolled from the university, and struggled to find the motivation to return.

“After I got back, I really had to push myself to return,” said the now-23-year-old criminal justice major and senior. “I didn’t receive any support from the school, and I felt I was going at it alone.”

But Norwich has been overhauling the way it accommodates student veterans over the last two years in order to help them better integrate into the college lifestyle, according to the Assistant Director for Student Success/Veteran Affairs, Steve Looke.

“Before we had a veteran advocate of the staff to handle all veteran issues,” said Looke. “Now we have a veteran’s team, with a representative in the registrar’s office, financial aid, the bursar’s, and me.” [Read more…]

Norwich’s 2016 valedictorian overcame disappointment, stayed focused on his goals

Logan Morrison, the 2016 valedictorian for Norwich University, stayed focused and shifted his goals when he discovered he could not join the military.

Logan Morrison, the 2016 valedictorian for Norwich University, stayed focused and shifted his goals when he discovered he could not join the military.

Every school year, the top senior in the class is given the great honor of being the valedictorian, the person who has achieved the highest GPA grade of the class and met a number of other academic criteria.

This year’s valedictorian is Logan Morrison, whose story is one of overcoming adversity and disappointment in being passed up by both the Marine Corps and U.S. Navy for scholarships. But he never quit, and after experiencing failure he learned from it, putting his head down and taking on the mindset that “it was not over for me,” Morrison said.

“I think one of the biggest things that helped me achieve all that I have is self-discipline.” said Morrison, a 22 year-old senior from Amesbury, Mass, who majored in computer security & information assurance with a concentration in digital forensics.

During his time at high school and at Norwich, he said he developed study habits to help him through academics, and one of the things he did was martial arts training to develop this and as a stress reliever.

But he said he also wanted to be a well-rounded person who got involved in extracurricular work with things that extended past just the academics.

“I failed to do most of these things in high school,” said Morrison. “However, I think the best thing I can say as to how I achieved what I did was finding balance.” [Read more…]

In the US Army and as a Norwich trustee, retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan excelled

Two generals meet at Norwich: Army Chief of staff Mark Milley, left, chats with retired General and Norwich Board of Trustees Chairman Gordon Sullivan during the ROTC centennial.

Two generals meet at Norwich: Army Chief of staff Mark Milley, left, chats with retired General and Norwich Board of Trustees Chairman Gordon Sullivan during the ROTC centennial.

“I thought they only named museums after dead guys,” quipped Gen. Mark Milley of Gen. Gordon Sullivan, in a Todd lecture Milley gave while visiting Norwich for the centennial celebration of ROTC.

Milley’s crack about the Sullivan Museum and History Center may have been spot on: Gordon Sullivan has long been the exception, not the rule.

Arguably the most important alumnus of Norwich in its almost two centuries of existence, Sullivan served for 36 years in the army, transitioning the force from post-Cold War excess to a much smaller, readier force in his final assignment as chief of staff of the United States Army.

For the last 21 years, Sullivan has served on the Norwich Board of Trustees, and has been its chairman since 2003. However, he will step down after this spring’s board session, where his successor will be chosen.

Whoever that may be, they have some big shoes to fill. “As the chairman of the board, Dr. Schneider and I worked together as a team and put together the 2019 program, actually the strategy to get us to 2019, and we actually made most of the goals early,” Sullivan said in an interview last week. [Read more…]

For injured Navy SEAL Jason Redman, war’s lessons led to important lessons in life

Cadet Mario Caruso (left) and Cadet Sam DeLong (right) stand with former Navy Seal Jason C. Redman after the Colby Military Symposium on April 6-7.

Cadet Mario Caruso (left) and Cadet Sam DeLong (right) stand with former Navy Seal Jason C. Redman after the Colby Military Symposium on April 6-7.

It was one pity-filled visitor too many that caused him to put pen to paper and let the determination flow from his mind while recovering in a hospital bed.

“Attention to all who enter,” he wrote. “If you are coming into this room with sorrow, or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love.”

The sign continued, “I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20 percent further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism, and intense rapid growth. If you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere.”

That sign now hangs framed on a wall at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. “I might have written it,” said the sign’s author, Lieutenant Jason Redman, a retired US Navy SEAL. “But all I did was capture the spirit of overcoming and the mindset our wounded warriors specifically need.” [Read more…]

On Taiwan tour, students and professors visit Chinese military academies

The Norwich delegation in a group picture with faculty and staff at Fu Hsing Kang University in Taiwan.

The Norwich delegation in a group picture with faculty and staff at Fu Hsing Kang University in Taiwan.

I am a sophomore in the Corp of Cadets with the rank of c/Corporal. I am double majoring in International Studies and Chinese (Mandarin) language, the president of Norwich’s Chinese Cultural and Language Club, and a member of the Norwich football team. This past spring break I was selected, following an application process, to represent Norwich University as a part of a Norwich International Center sponsored student delegation that traveled to two military academies on the island of Taiwan, located 110 east of mainland China. The delegation was led and organized by a three-person committee which included Dr. Joseph Byrne, associate vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Alex Chung, assistant professor of economics and finance, and Mindy Ward, the senior coordinator for international student & scholar services of Norwich’s International Center.

The committee had a very selective application process that only chose four students; after applying in November, only 10 students out of roughly 34 applicants were invited for an interview a month later. During finals week, the student delegates were informed of their acceptance. Besides myself, the others chosen were senior Peter Carbone; junior Mickey Walbridge; and sophomore Lauren Lohmiller. [Read more…]

Norwich junior joins with professor to advance cross-cultural learning for ROTC

Junior Cameron Myette, left, is working with Prof. Travis Morris to expand the understanding of foreign cultures in the ROTC program.

Junior Cameron Myette, left, is working with Prof. Travis Morris to expand the understanding of foreign cultures in the ROTC program.    Photo by Evan Bowley

Cameron Myette is a junior who will be graduating this spring, unlike most of his peers in his class. Over the last few months, with the help from faculty, he has set out to accomplish a rather large goal that would not only help the school, but other students, as a way of giving back to Norwich.

As an Army ROTC cadet, with the 100-year celebration of ROTC’s birthday just around the corner, he wondered where the future lies for the program. Myette wanted to know where ROTC has been and where it is going.

In collaboration with Prof. Travis Morris, they have set out to not only change ROTC for the better, but to help junior officers have a better understanding of cross-cultural competencies as well. [Read more…]

ROTC centennial anniversary symposium begins April 21 at Norwich

This photo from the Norwich University archives shows army cadets at commencement ceremonies in 1918. ROTC was founded at Norwich University 100 years ago, a remarkable legacy for this private military school  in the hills of northern Vermont. A three day commemoration and symposium on the impact of ROTC will be held beginning Thursday April 21 with a proclamation in the Vermont State House, and a keynote speech by General Mark Milley, chief of staff of the US Army. The Guidon will publish a special commemorative issue to mark the occasion and report on it.

This photo from the Norwich University archives shows army cadets at commencement ceremonies in 1918. ROTC was founded at Norwich University 100 years ago, a remarkable legacy for this private military school in the hills of northern Vermont. A three day commemoration and symposium on the impact of ROTC will be held beginning Thursday April 21 with a proclamation in the Vermont State House and a keynote speech by General Mark Milley, chief of staff of the US Army. The Guidon will publish a special commemorative issue to mark the occasion and report on it.

Longtime Norwich Spanish professor Joseph “Jose” Miana has passed away

From President Richard Schneider:
It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of former longtime professor Joseph “Jose” Miana. Prof. Miana began teaching Spanish at Norwich in 2000 and dedicated over 14 years of service to the university. He retired in December 2015. Known for his impeccable dress and passion for teaching, Prof. Miana was beloved by Norwich students, as demonstrated in a March 2014 Guidon article that profiles him. On behalf of the Norwich community, I offer my condolences to Jose’s family and friends.
Calling hours will be held Wednesday, April 6, from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Pruneau-Polli Funeral Home, 58 Summer Street, Barre, VT 05641. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, April 7, at 11 a.m. at St. Monica Church, 79 Summer Street, Barre, VT.
An obituary for Prof. Miana is forthcoming and will be made available in the Times Argus newspaper.
Click on the link for the story on Professor Miana.
http://thenorwichguidon.org/?s=miana

Proposal would open ROTC courses to civilian participation by the fall of 2017

Col. Andy Hird says letting civilians with a focus on leadership take ROTC courses will broaden viewpoints in the classroom and benefit those on the military track.

Col. Andy Hird says letting civilians with a focus on leadership take ROTC courses will broaden viewpoints in the classroom and benefit those on the military track. Photo by Amber Reichart

(Second in a series on ROTC)

Course registration might have a few different options available for civilian students in the near future. Declared leadership studies minors and concentrations, take note.

“There is value in diverse thought,” said Col. Andy Hird, professor of aerospace science at Norwich University and the school’s Air Force ROTC Detachment commander. “We as a military are beholden to civilian leadership, and we as a military have recognized the divide that has grown every decade between the civilian and military population in the defense of the country.”

How can Norwich help bridge that divide? By allowing future military officers and civilian leaders to begin to partner up now in the military classroom.

There are a number of changes being proposed in the lineup to the ROTC curriculum and how it interacts with the students of Norwich. A key one is having civilian students enrolled in ROTC courses along with their cadet counterparts effective fall of 2017.

The idea is well liked by the three professors of ROTC. Echoing each others words, the sentiment was there would be nothing but value-added by taking on civilian enrollment in the military classrooms. This is predicated on space available, explained Col. Eric Brigham, the Professor of Military Science and Dean of the National College of Services.

“If it’s a free elective, if [students] are getting credit for it, if there is space for them, and if they want to take a 300 level class, I am certainly willing to open that up,” said Col. Brigham. [Read more…]

Long-standing exception allowing Norwich ROTC nursing students to be civilians may end

Tara Lyons (left) and Clara Leister, both civilians, will be commissioning as Army nurses in May. They oppose a proposed ROTC change that would bar that in the future. Bailey Beltramo photo

Tara Lyons (left) and Clara Leister, both civilians, will be commissioning as Army nurses in May. They oppose a proposed ROTC change that would bar that in the future.
Bailey Beltramo photo

(Third in a series on ROTC)

Clara Leister will be commissioning into active duty service as an Army nurse this May.

Though Leister, 21, from Hartland, Vt., may be wearing scrubs during her service time more often than her combat uniform, she has proved she not only meets the Army standard but far exceeds it since transferring to Norwich at the start of her sophomore year.

She has rappelled off mountain tops and performed competently at the Army’s Mountain Warfare School. She rucked, swam, shot, and ran her way to earn the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge. And she has attended every summer military training opportunity afforded to her, including the Cadet Leader Course (CLC), and the Nurse Summer Training Program (NSTP).

However, what she has not done is elect to wear the uniform of a cadet while pursuing her commission. In the future if proposed changes are adopted, that will no longer be possible. [Read more…]