Commencement 2004 at Norwich University
Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan USA (ret.) advised the 312 Norwich University students in the class of 2004 that their experiences during the past four years will help them to play an important, yet to be determined, role in the success of the nation. Sullivan, a former Army Chief of Staff and 1959 graduate of Norwich, was the guest speaker at the University's 185th commencement ceremony, held Sunday morning in Northfield.
Norwich President Richard W. Schneider opened the ceremony by welcoming the approximately 4,000 family members, friends, and well-wishers in attendence and sharing his thoughts on leadership with the students.
"Leadership is action, not position," Schneider said. "No matter what position you are in, be a leader. Whether you are a private or a general, a corporate CEO or somebody in the mailroom, be a leader of ethical action."
Schneider was followed by Gen. Sullivan, who currently serves as the chairman of the Norwich University board of trustees.
"Each of you has an important, yet-undefined, role to play in the continuous march of our Republic," Sullivan said. "The crest, your class ring, and your diploma should be touchstones for you and reminders of your experience at Norwich. They represent our traditions as well as your pursuit of excellence and the role that a disciplined citizen in our democracy can play. They represent not only continuity with the past but a link to the future. The motto 'I Will Try' is not about making yesterday perfect; it is about moving into the future. Your future.
"All of you will carry the burdens and rewards of service to our nation, whether you are sitting here at home, or serving somewhere else," Sullivan said. "Many people who have been associated with this university have led and been led to greatness. You will follow in their footsteps.
"You have sacrificed to make today a reality, and you have proven yourselves to be winners," Sullivan said. "Good luck to each and every one of you. We love you for what you have done and what you will do, whatever it may be."
Norwich University is the oldest private military college in the United States and the birthplace of the nation's Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). The class of 2004 consisted of 152 members of the Corps of Cadets, and 162 civilian students. A total of 108 of the graduates were commissioned into the armed forces (72 Army, 21 Navy, and 15 Air Force).
The class of 2004 valedictorians, Shanek Fernando (Computer Science - Pasadena, CA), Barbara Mooney (Biology - Northfield, VT), and Leslie Russell (Civil Engineering - Moretown, VT) each gave brief remarks of encouragement to their classmates.
Also during the ceremony, retiring faculty members Jan McCleery (physical education - 36 years) and Keith Gould (English - 34 years) were recognized, and an honorary degree was issued to William D. Countryman, who served on the faculty of Norwich University from 1948 to 1974.
A special presentation was made to Col. Alden Partridge Colvocoresses of Braddock, VA, whose great-great grandfather, George M. Colvocoresses was adopted by Norwich University founder Captain Alden Partridge in 1823.