New York Times best-selling writer Alex Kershaw, author of “Citizens & Soldiers: The First 200 Years of Norwich History,” will deliver the commencement address on May 11. (Photo by Michael Carroll.)

NU to Celebrate its Bicentennial Commencement and Commissioning Ceremonies May 11-12

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial commencement and commissioning with ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday, May 11-12, in Shapiro Field House. Both events are free and open to the public.

Graduates include future military officers, law enforcement officers, and many who will go on to graduate school, jobs in the federal government, athletic training, construction management, and numerous sectors of public service.

At a 2 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 11, New York Times best-selling author and historian Alex Kershaw, who penned “Citizens & Soldiers: The First 200 Years of Norwich University,” will give the commencement address to the Class of 2019. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Military History degree.

In honor of the university’s bicentennial in 2019, Norwich University recently released “Citizens & Soldiers: The First 200 Years of Norwich University.” The book chronicles the history and legacy of the nation’s oldest private military college and birthplace of ROTC and the alumni who have defined American and world history over the past 200 years. Drawing upon Norwich University’s extensive archives and museum collection, Kershaw spent two years researching and writing the book. Kershaw’s compelling narrative style is interwoven with photos, maps, illustrations, and timelines.

A graduate of Oxford University, Kershaw is the author of 10 books, including the New York Times best-sellers “The Bedford Boys,” “The Longest Winter” and “Avenue of Spies,” and biographies of Jack London, Raoul Wallenberg and Robert Capa. It was recently announced that Kershaw’s book, “The Liberator,” will be made into a four-part animated WWII drama series for Netflix. His newest book, “The First Wave,” will be released on May 14, 2019. An honorary colonel in the 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Division of the Virginia Army National Guard, Kershaw said he was drawn to the unique story of Norwich University shaped by its people and many ‘firsts.’

Norwich University’s graduating future officers will hear remarks from a fellow graduate at this spring’s joint services commissioning ceremony. U.S. Army Major General Mark J. O’Neil ’86 returns to the Norwich campus to speak to ROTC commissioning officers in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines during a formal ceremony to mark the occasion on Sunday, May 12, at 9 a.m. in Shapiro Field House.

U.S. Army Major General Mark J. O’Neil ’86

Currently O’Neil serves as the Commanding General, U.S. Army Alaska, of which he assumed command in 2017. He graduated from Norwich University in 1986 earning his commission as an Infantry Officer from Norwich University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). He began his career as a Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer and Scout Platoon Leader with the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Tx.

O’Neil’s deployments include peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and 15 deployments in support of overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom and in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

Over 450 students will graduate from 32 undergraduate programs and one master’s program. Approximate commissioning numbers are: Army, 81; Air Force, 26; Navy, 12; Marines, 17. See the full schedule of weekend activities here.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). 

Norwich will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders, Norwich launched the Forging the Future campaign in 2014. The five-year campaign, which is timed to culminate in 2019, is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities and is designed to enhance the university’s strong position as it steps into its third century of service to the nation.

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