Dean's Blog

Dean's Reflections and Hockey Puck Winners Announced

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Duck and Cover

Many years ago I attended my neighborhood elementary school, housed in a large turn-of-the 20th century brick building my father also attended. In fact, my kindergarten teacher also had my father in her class and started teaching in a one-room school house where one of her students was my grandfather, but that is another story! I have many fond memories of my time in elementary school and remember quite clearly some of the daily routine and occasional activities that made up life in those days, under the direction of our retired Air Force colonel-turned-principal. That is another story too; he was also a major league baseball scout and renowned basketball official having occasionally officiated games at Norwich University when I was but a young student under his charge.

During my elementary school days the cold war was in full swing and I recall regular sightings of the B-52 Strategic Air Command bombers that flew relatively low overhead on missions from the nearby Air Force Base, now converted to other uses. Part and parcel of that time were regular air raid drills designed to prepare us from nuclear attack while in school, the mantra of which was to “duck” against the wall in the hallway and “cover” our heads with our hands, or under our desks when in the classroom. I can still feel the cool masonry of the wall as we waited for the all-clear that signaled we could return to our classroom. I’m not sure how effective this activity would have been in the event of a real nuclear attack given our location not more than 30 miles from a strategic air base, but it was a fun diversion from daily activity.

I thought of these experiences and how times have changed as staff at the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies and the university prepared for a scheduled “shelter in place” exercise. The concept of seeking shelter from a potentially catastrophic experience persists but in a different and underlying reasons. The context is far removed from what I would have imagined as a young student and even high school student now almost 50 years ago.

The striking difference of course is that the public threat is no longer from an external enemy capable of rendering mass destruction and casualties in an attack that would require coordination and significant effort by the military. Instead, it is from individuals among us who are capable of using the public’s trust as cover to inflict mass casualties either acting alone or in a small group. We could debate how this threat evolved and much has been written and discussed about the phenomenon, which I don’t intend to decipher here even as a criminologist by training. Suffice it to say that a significant cultural and normative shift has occurred over several decades within which we are collectively more wary and exposed to a different kind of threat. Something to consider as I took part in the workplace drill!

Hockey Puck Contest Winners

I am pleased to announce that we have two hockey puck contest winners this year, both having picked the day on either side of the actual puck emergence on May 4. The lucky winners of an official Norwich hockey puck and pint of locally produced maple syrup this year are Jordan DiPietro (M.A. history) and Eric Rutledge (MBA). Congratulations, I am pleased to announce that spring has officially arrived in central Vermont! Time to get back to work, graduate courses are in the home stretch, residency is around the corner and our undergraduate students are working hard starting their new courses!