NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Celebrating under this year’s theme, “Expect Challenge, Achieve Distinction,” 408 students representing 13 online graduate programs will spend a week participating in capstone and culminating academic work, conferences and commencement exercises June 22-26 at Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies’ annual Residency Conference.

For the first time in its more-than-20-year history, the annual Residency Conference will be held virtually because of novel coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions on in-person gatherings.

Also, 232 online bachelor’s degree completion students are expected to earn their degree in 2020. Bachelor’s degree completion students are welcome but are not required to partake in the virtual Residency Conference.

Although the Residency Conference is ordinarily hosted on Norwich University’s campus in the Green Mountains of Northfield, Vermont, the 2020 rendition will be hosted completely online so students, alumni, and friends and family of the graduates can participate in these momentous events while remaining safe.

Students from around the world will become a part of the 201-year Norwich legacy with the culmination of their programs at the virtual Residency experience. The Class of 2020 graduates includes active duty and veteran military personnel, health care professionals, law enforcement officers and special agents, entrepreneurs and educators.

Pete Smith, international speaker and coach in leadership, management, personal growth and development, will deliver this year’s keynote presentation on Wednesday, June 24, as part of Norwich’s Todd Lecture Series. The Norwich community is proud to welcome Smith to the virtual Residency Conference to share his wealth of knowledge in business motivation and self-improvement. The event is free and open to the public and requires preregistration; to register, visit the Residency website.

To recognize graduating students’ accomplishments, students and their families are invited to participate in a virtual degree conferral ceremony from noon to 1 p.m. EDT June 25.

To recognize graduating students’ accomplishments, students and their families are invited to participate in a virtual degree conferral ceremony from noon to 1 p.m. EDT June 25. Unlike Norwich’s traditional commencement ceremony, the degree conferral ceremony will honor the achievements of the Class of 2020 as a whole and will conclude with a student photo slideshow.

Students may attend the rescheduled spring campus graduation or the June 2021 commencement ceremony if they are interested in participating in a traditional, in-person Norwich graduation ceremony.

As part of his first Norwich Residency Conference, Norwich University President Col. Mark Anarumo, USAF, (Ret) is this year’s degree conferral speaker, as well as being the Dean’s Welcome guest speaker — a traditional event held by CGCS Dean Bill Clements to gear students up for the Residency Conference.

Anarumo took over as the university’s 24th president on June 1. Before Norwich, Anarumo served as director and permanent professor for the Center for Character and Leadership Development at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Anarumo entered the U.S. Air Force in 1994 as the Distinguished Graduate of Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Rutgers University. He earned a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in criminal justice from Rutgers University.

In disciplines such as business administration and leadership, students will collaborate and apply concepts learned through analyzing Vermont businesses’ project and resource management, marketing, leadership, operations and finance.

To complete their academic experiences and put the skills they learned to test, Norwich master’s students in civil engineering, criminal justice, history and military history, information security and assurance and cybersecurity, nursing and public administration will participate in live sessions led by their peers that showcase capstone projects in their unique areas of research. Students in diplomacy and international relations will participate in virtual case studies relevant to their fields.

2020 Residency by the numbers:

  • 408 graduate students will represent all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico and six international countries: Canada, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Norway, Peru and Ukraine.
  • 51% of the graduating class has served or is serving in the military.
  • 20% of students have more than one degree from Norwich University.

For more information and updates on the 2020 Residency Conference, visit

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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 Capt. Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies (CGCS) builds upon the institution’s 200-year academic heritage with innovative online programs. CGCS offers master’s degrees in a variety of areas; bachelor’s degree completion programs; graduate certificates; and continuing education opportunities. The programs are recognized throughout the industry for their rigor, small class size, high student satisfaction and retention. 

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