Alumni Testimonials

Lisa Lanz

Master of Public Administration
, Class of 2014
I’ve learned more in the past 18 months than I have in the past 10 years. At my age, the thought of going back to school was daunting, but my experience at Norwich has given me a new outlook on the value of advanced degrees. The amount of work that goes into it is absolutely worth it.
Lisa Lanz, Class of 2014
Master of Public Administration

Q: “Tell us about you as a person, Lisa.”
A: “I live outside of Chicago and also in north central Illinois where I am involved in bee keeping and prairie restoration. I am married, and we have two huskies. I volunteer at the USO of Illinois, and I’m also on the board of Friends of Nachusa Grasslands, a nature conservancy site focused on prairie restoration.”

Q: “What is your current employer and briefly describe your professional life.”
A: “I used to be an executive director of the non-profit Tawani Foundation, a philanthropic grant-making organization that is focused on preservation of military history, conservation of historic sites, and health and wellness particularly around the military and their families. Now I am working on the for-profit side, acquiring historic properties and restoring them, particularly as bed and breakfasts. I’m currently working on a 100-year-old Victorian home.”

Q: “What was your motivation for pursuing your degree?”
A: “I have been working in the non-profit sector for 20 years, and this program was a good fit. It provided an ideal combination of business, government, and non-profit perspectives. I want to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities presenting themselves, and I want to be part of the local political environment. I hope to become a more engaged participant in this community.”

Q: “Why did you choose Norwich and how did you learn about it?”
A: “I had several connections to Norwich before I enrolled in the program. Jennifer Pritzker, a trustee for many years at the Tawani Foundation, earned her honorary doctorate in military history from Norwich. I also learned more about Norwich when learning about the various programs at the Colby Symposium, a multi-day event where they bring in various speakers and experts in the fields of military history and intelligence and award first-time authors in military history. I have been part of the symposium for several years. I became very familiar with the staff and Norwich University's President, Dr. Richard W. Schneider.  

Several factors attracted me to the program. I love the culture at Norwich, and I love Vermont. I appreciate that Norwich has a smaller student body, which allows the faculty to provide a one-on-one experience for students. I also liked the convenience of the online learning environment.”

Q: “What makes Norwich unique?”
A: “The blend of military and civilian students is a particular advantage and adds a certain uniqueness to the campus and to the online program. The diversity in the background of the professors and in their experiences brings value to the program and also makes Norwich unique.”

Q: “Please describe any memorable experiences you may have had with faculty members or your peers.”
A: “Meeting your online classmates and professors in-person at the residency is like meeting up with long-lost friends. I wish it would happen twice (once in the beginning and once in the end). Professor Connors (non-profit course), planted the seed of working on a PhD. He said this was something I should consider. I had never seen myself as able or qualified to take on such a responsibility, but he really inspired me. Now I’m seriously considering it.”

Q: “How have you grown personally or professionally as a result of your education?”
A: “I feel I’ve learned more in the past 18 months than I have in the past 10 years. At my age, the thought of going back to school was daunting, but my experience at Norwich has given me a new outlook on the value of advanced degrees. The amount of work that goes into it is absolutely worth it.”

Q: “Please tell us about any examples where you were able to put your knowledge to work immediately at your job.”
A: “Within the grant-making field, the dynamic of program evaluation and strategic planning were areas that I could immediately put to use with my work with the USO of Illinois strategic planning committee.”

Q: “What aspects of your Norwich experience will you carry most strongly with you?”
A: “The spirit of collaboration and the importance of a multidisciplinary approach, whether in relation to a career or personal life, are two aspects of my Norwich experience that really made an impression on me.”

Q: “Anything else you would like to share about your Norwich experience?”
A: “To anyone who is thinking about the program and are hesitating because of the time commitment, the cost of the program, or any other concerns, set those aside and dive right into it because any of those negative thoughts dissipate when you start your first class. It does change the way you look at the world, through your classmates and your professors. It’s so enriching that you can only come away as a better person.”