At Oath Ceremony, new Norwich University students promise to uphold school's Honor Code, values
A weekend of firsts for new Norwich University students and the class of 2023 also began a series of lasts for Richard W. Schneider as Norwich president.
On Sunday, Aug. 25, Norwich’s rooks, first-year members of the Corps of Cadets, participated in the annual Dog River Run, a tradition dating back to Rook Week in August 1973.
Schneider accompanied them for the final time as president; he’ll leave his post in May after 28 years. (His tenure has made him one of the longest-serving college presidents in the United States). Schneider said Sunday he has run 27 Dog River Runs, missing only one because of knee operations.
Sunday also brought Norwich’s Oath Ceremony to Sabine Field, a moment when students gather and promise to uphold the university’s Honor Code and values.
As the Regimental Color Guard, which also serves as the State of Vermont Color Guard, and the Regimental Band, the nation’s oldest collegiate marching band, stood by, Schneider welcomed on-site onlookers, an online audience watching via livestream and students, both civilian and Corps.
Schneider, who joined Dean of Students Martha Mathis; Col. Michael Titus, Commandant of Cadets; and Amanda Palm ’20, student orientation coordinator; on the 50-yard-line reviewing stand, said he looked forward to seeing everyone progress. Someday, he said, current rooks will have their own rooks to lead; current civilians will have their own freshmen to guide as residential advisors and orientation leaders.
“That’s not far away,” he said.
The coming year will enable students to experience Norwich’s legacy, Schneider said. At homecoming, for example, 6,000 to 8,000 alumni will return to campus, some marching on the same Sabine Field expanse. Students will also, he said, get to uphold Norwich’s values.
“(Norwich is) a serious school for students who want to do really well and get their life started properly and be great citizens,” he said. “Whether we’re in civilian clothes or military clothes, we need great leaders, and that’s the business we’re in.”
Schneider said oath taking is a longstanding military practice; American armed forces personnel all promise to defend their nation. But oaths are also life practice, Schneider said, many professions, including law, law enforcement and medicine have them. Pledging allegiance to the American flag is an oath, he said; so is a marriage vow.
“When you speak these words, try to embody them, make them part of who you are, who you will be when you graduate,” Schneider said before students took their Norwich oaths. “Allow them to transform you into the person you wish to become … remember what you’re saying and why it means something, and you’ll have an unbelievable four years at school.”
Civilian, administered by Amanda Palm, ’20
“I will henceforth strive to live by the Norwich guiding values as a student of Norwich University. I promise to accept and apply the principles of the Honor Code and Guiding Values, to abide by the Norwich University Rules and Regulations, to obey the legal orders of Norwich officials, to foster the Norwich spirit, to uphold the traditions of my Alma Mater. In all my endeavors from this day forth, I will reflect the spirit of the Norwich motto: ‘I will try.’”
Corps, administered by Cadet Col. Ethan Hagstrom, ’20
“I will henceforth strive to live by the Norwich Creed. As a member of the Norwich Corps of Cadets I promise to accept and apply the principles of the Honor Code; to abide by the Norwich Rules and Regulations; to obey the legal orders of Norwich officials and my seniors in the Corps of Cadets; to foster the Norwich spirit; and to uphold the traditions of my Alma Mater. In all my endeavors from this day forth, I will reflect the spirit of the Norwich motto: “I will try.’”
- Pictures from the 2019 Dog River Run by Mark Collier.