MG Martha T. Rainville, VNG (Ret.) advised the 359 Norwich University students in the class of 2006 that living a fulfilling life will entail taking risks and risking failure. Rainville, former Adjutant General of the Vermont National Guard, was the guest speaker at the University’s commencement ceremony, held Sunday morning in Northfield.

Norwich President Richard W. Schneider opened the ceremony by welcoming the approximately 4,500 students, family members, friends, and well-wishers in attendance and by sharing his thoughts on the graduating class.

"You have been a great class. You have come together in ways that have exceeded my expectations," Schneider said. "You hold in your hands the reputation of our University. I challenge you to live your lives with honor and integrity and protect that reputation."

Schneider then shared the words of President Harry Truman, who said that progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize opportunity and change things for the better. "If you see an opportunity, seize it and be the leader you need to be," Schneider said. "Practice your leadership skills and act ethically. If you do these things, you will have a great life, and we will be extremely proud of you."

Following Schneider's remarks honorary degrees were conferred upon Norwich Trustee Emeritus Robert Mack '64 (Doctor of Business Administration), and Commencement Speaker Martha Rainville (Doctor of Military Science).

In her address to the class of '06 Rainville urged the students not to accept the status quo. "As young leaders you will need more than values which form the guideposts of your actions," Rainville said. "You will also need to recognize and assess the necessary risks which must be taken for you to alter the status quo, or make a true difference in the challenges assumed when you take the next step after Norwich." Rainville said that the risks come in the form of ideas, business plans or decisions to accept new and different assignments. "You will become better leaders if you do so with confidence and a willingness to demand excellence in yourself."

Also during the ceremony Class of 2006 Valedictorian, Karthik Raman of India, who completed a double major in Computer Science and Computer Security & Information Assurance, gave brief remarks to encourage his classmates to work together to achieve common goals.

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 2006 consisted of 185 members of the Corps of Cadets, and 174 civilian students. A total of 117 of the graduates have been or will soon be commissioned into the armed forces (73 Army, 14 Navy, 18 Marine Corps and 17 Air Force).