Founder's Day observed

Picture of Alden Partridge statueA small group of faculty and staff celebrated Founder's Day in the shadow of the Alden Partridge statue on August 4. Held in the afternoon of the last day of summer school, before the full complement of faculty return for the fall semester, the annual Founder's Day draws a diverse crowd of employees in a relaxed gathering, to discuss recent accomplishments and plans for the coming academic year. Strawberry shortcake and sweet iced tea were served under a white tent. The sun was bright, the grass very green, and the hills shaded blue by humidity. Speakers ignored the temporary podium and microphones in favor of standing close to the crowd and simply raising their voices. Rick Van Arnam of the Office of Institutional Advancement in turn introduced Chief Administrative Officer Dave Magida, Director of Admissions Shelby Wallace, VP/Commandant Mike Kelley and President Richard Schneider. The names of new employees were mentioned, to friendly applause.

Members of the Facilities Operations staff grinned in appreciation as Magida mentioned they had been a little bit busy this summer: refinishing hardwood floors, installing new water lines, new electric lines, painting parking lots, paving roads, testing building sprinklers, replacing steps, replacing laundry machines, painting the interior of buildings, repairing roofs, pruning, spraying, and fertilizing trees and assisting with several large construction projects. Magida said there will be challenges during the coming year, with the ongoing construction on Harmon Hall and the accommodations that will have to be made by students and employees, but he is confident the University community will make it work.

Wallace reported that the Admissions staff have also been very busy and that they are proud of the incoming freshman class, which is both large in number and well-qualified to succeed.

General Kelley addresses Founder's Day attendeesKelley told the crowd that this year the Commandant's Office intends to place special emphasis on "mutual respect" as a key element of effective leadership. He asked that all faculty and staff mindfully embrace this philosophy and help both freshmen and upper class students, Corps and traditional civilians, to live by it.

Van Arnam reported that the Norwich Forever! capital campaign is progressing well; over $46M has been pledged to date.

The president informed the crowd that early Norwich diplomas were the first in the nation to be written in English, rather than Latin, reflecting the unusual practicality of the University founder. He also spoke of NU2019, the plan which will carry the University into its third century of service to the nation--employees are strongly encouraged to access the document via CLiC and familiarize themselves with the University's current goals and objectives. Work is progressing on an important facet of the plan--to internationalize the Norwich experience. Over 30 Norwich students will be studying abroad, this year; volunteer service projects will take more students abroad during vacation breaks; and the University is actively pursuing exchange programs with institutions overseas. The School of Graduate Studies (SGS) is also thriving: retention is exceptional; the number of degree recipients continues to increase; and the graduation exercise had to be held in Shapiro Hall, this June, in order to accommodate the crowd. The president anticipates that the numbers of SGS graduates will continue to increase as the number of programs increases, and Norwich may find itself in the enviable predicament of having no building large enough for a unified graduation ceremony.

The president praised employees for their hard work and scholarship in the past year, and encouraged them to keep up the good work.