Dean's Blog

Congratulations, Class of 2013!

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The skies parted and rain held off for the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies’ Commencement following our recent Residency Conference in June. Congratulations to all of our 2013 bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates for a job well done in completing your degree and joining a growing group of distinguished Norwich alumni! Campus has become awfully quiet (aside from the construction) and I miss our students already! It’s hard to believe that once again residency and commencement have now come and gone, although I’m sure the many warm memories and connections made during our time together will last for years to come.

Now that many new Norwich graduates have been minted, I think it's worthwhile to paraphrase from my Commencement remarks. For our students who are continuing the journey or are about to enter study in the fall, these remarks will also ring true. I challenge you to think of the words of renowned football coach Lou Holtz as they call us to action:  

“When all is said and done, more is said than done.”

As Norwich students and alumni I ask that you continue to live our values and that you “act as well as conceive” of solutions to problems faced in our lives, communities and nation. You have a responsibility to do so with the new knowledge, experience and responsibilities gained through higher education. As I looked out across the commencement audience, I couldn’t help but wonder what I do at every commencement. Who among our student body (and graduates) will continue to step forward as leaders, perhaps further than you have already done in your lives and careers? During residency, we learned about the many leaders among us - in the coming years your story as Norwich students and alumni will be more fully written. And you will be able to direct that story as long is what is said is also done.

The remarks of commencement speaker Richard Wilkerson, retired CEO of Michelin North America were also well received by our students, family, staff and all in attendance that day. We will do well to remember that how we treat our colleagues and people at all levels of our increasingly complex organizations will drive performance and effectiveness as leaders and citizens.

I would also like to commend all of the hearty souls who participated in the 2013 Dog River Run at residency, a favorite event for me. The run takes place at 0600 hours and is based on a tradition that Corps of Cadets freshmen, or “rooks,” experience as they finish their first full week of military training before fall classes begin. Our version did not involve running up the old ski mountain or a day of physical fitness testing, but a short early morning run, some exercises and stroll down the cold river was a refreshing way to start the day. The water was particularly high and cold this year causing the first abbreviated river portion, but we were able to get through a round of push-ups in the water quite successfully! I should also add that it hasn’t stopped raining since residency and the river is actually higher than it was several weeks ago. No river runs for some time this summer!

I enjoyed the academic program very much this year and thank the faculty, students and staff for creating a rich academic and conference experience. Your hard work in the program and leading up to the conference was a recipe for success that we hope to continue in coming years. Several new approaches to the conference were tried and I participated in the first Leadership Summit as did 36 graduates and additional representatives of local companies and leaders from within and external to the university. It was a wonderful event and showcased the capabilities and skill of our graduates while solving real problems for companies, including Norwich University. I look forward to repeating this event next year.

Our current students have much to look forward as the Norwich team is already debriefing and planning how to make the 2014 Residency Conference even better. I am also interested in extending continuing education opportunities to our newest graduates and alumni population so keep your eyes open for more information in coming months. While it doesn’t seem possible now, we will soon prepare to convene the next residency and welcome you on campus! 

Happy Birthday to our nation on this July 4 holiday season and best wishes for the remainder of summer. The weather may be warm and inviting, but it is time to get back to those books and your studies!