Pinning ceremony, Rook Military Skills Competition, open houses among highlights

All together now. Maroon, gold, black for hues … Norwich brings its fete to you.

Last month’s Homecoming proved alumni of all years can join hands by modem, router and webcam to celebrate tradition and commingle. This weekend, 98 legacy students in the Class of 2024 — those with relatives or parents who are attending or have attended Norwich University — will celebrate their shared university experience with their parents during virtual Parent and Family Weekend.

Events start Thursday and continue through Saturday. Many rites return — pinning, a Review with Retreat by the Corps of Cadets, music from the Regimental Band. As it did during Homecoming, the Alumni and Family Relations will use its NUTV channel, streaming on its office’s web and Facebook pages, to broadcast events.

“You were an alum, and now you get to see your kid attending here. And the pinning is a moment to say, ‘Hey, I’m proud of you for being here.” Eddie Habeck ’99 M’10, Alumni and Family Relations Director, Norwich University

Because Vermont Health Department guidelines, sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, prohibit large gatherings and prompted campus to close to visitors, some events have morphed. For example, pinning, which has alumni parents and relatives bestow special pins on current students, would have happened at Sabine Field at Hayne Family Stadium after the traditional Saturday football game. However, with the football season pandemically canceled, pinning was moved to Thursday afternoon, broadcast on NUTV and involved on-campus relatives or proxies.

corps retreat min
Norwich University’s Corps of Cadets marches on the Upper Parade Ground on Oct. 3, 2020, during Homecoming. The Corps will perform a Review with Retreat during Parent and Family Weekend to be broadcast on NUTV. (Photo via NUTV.)

Legacy students visited a tent on Wise Campus Center’s green, stepped onto a stage and stood with their on-campus relative or held photographs of their Norwich alumni family member for a new photo. Students receive the new photos along with special folders as keepsakes.

If the students had no relative on campus, proxies stood ready to apply the pins. Guest pinners included President Dr. Mark Anarumo, Provost Sandra Affenito, Alumni and Family Relations Director Eddie Habeck ’99 M’10, Vice President of Development Liz Kennedy, Senior Vice President of Student Affairs and Information Technology Frank Vanecek and Assistant Commandant William Passalacqua ’88.

“It’s a huge deal to the families,” Habeck said of the weekend. “You were an alum, and now you get to see your kid attending here. And the pinning is a moment to say, ‘Hey, I’m proud of you for being here.’”

Skills competition

For parents of rooks, the weekend will feature Saturday’s Rook Military Skills Competition, a Norwich tradition performed on a 50 foot-by-50 foot Upper Parade Ground square and streamed on NUTV. In the competition, a rifle-toting commander will lead the platoon into the drill area, stopping to greet the head judge and introduce the unit, then execute marching exercises, including right face, about face and presenting arms. A panel of judges will grade the moves on a 1 to 5 scale (five is the best).

Friday will include a series of Zoom-delivered open houses. Participating groups will include the U.S. Navy-U.S. Marine Corps ROTC; U.S. Army ROTC; U.S. Air Force ROTC; International Center and study abroad program; the Career Internship Center (which this month has presented Careerpalooza); the Commandant’s Office and Dean of Students Martha Mathis.

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The 2024 rook class from Norwich University’s Corps of Cadets will test its military skills Saturday during Parent and Family Weekend. (Photo by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)

Following the open houses, NUTV will stream a live Corps review followed by rebroadcasts of the Regimental Band’s Bicentennial Concert and the Drill Team’s “Shock Platoon” performance from Homecoming.

At 9 p.m., stand-up comedian Derrick Knopsnyder will perform. He’s performed at several colleges recently, including Fairmont State in West Virginia Fitchburg State in Massachusetts, Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania, and the State University of New York, Morrisville.

Norwich Vice President of Alumni and Family Relations Diane Scolaro said she and Habeck learned from Homecoming that virtual events draw audiences — NUTV drew 2,400 viewers Oct. 2 and 4,600 Oct. 3, some from as far away as Bangkok and Malaysia. More than the usual 500-family on-campus average may participate, she said.

“While there is no substitute for getting together with family, friends and classmates, the post-Homecoming survey indicated people felt connected to Norwich and to each other,” she wrote in an email. “Fingers crossed that parents (and) families will feel the same this weekend!”

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Here’s the full Parents and Family Weekend schedule:

Thursday, Oct. 15
2 to 6 p.m.: Legacy pinning drop-in reception 
Legacy students will be pinned and photographed at this special reception.

6 to 6:30 p.m.: Norwich University Parent and Family Association welcome
Remarks from Norwich President Mark C. Anarumo and association President Nick DiSilvio, plus a slideshow featuring photos and video from the fall semester’s first six weeks.

6:30 p.m.: Rook Week Experience trailer
Preview the experience of Rook Week, plus interviews with Cadre and Rooks.
Purchase: The 12-minute full-length download will be available for purchase after Nov. 15 here:

Friday, Oct.16
—10:30 to 11 a.m.: International Center and study abroad open house 
Click here to join.
—11 to 11:30 a.m.: Career and Internship Center open house 
Click here to join.
—11:30 a.m. to noon: U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps ROTC open house 
Click here to join.
— Noon to 12:30 p.m.: U.S. Army ROTC open house 
Click here to join.
— 12:30 to 1 p.m.: U.S. Air Force ROTC open house 
Click here to join.
— 1 to 1:30 p.m.: Commandant’s Office open house 
Click here  to join.
— 1:30 to 2 p.m.: Dean of Students open house 
Click here to join.

NUTV: Click here
3 p.m.: Parent & Family Weekend welcome
3:15 to 4 p.m.: Corps Review, livestreamed event
4 p.m.: Drill Team's "Shock Platoon" performance 
4 p.m.: Regimental Band bicentennial concert
9 p.m.: Comedian Derrick Knopsnyder, livestreamed event
Click here to see the performance.

Saturday, Oct. 17
Rooks will be at ease on campus from 2:30 p.m. Saturday until Sunday morning to  allow for free phone and social media time with parents and family and participation in planned student recreational activities.

NUTV: Click here
7:50 a.m.: Morning welcome 
8 a.m. to noon: Rook Military Skills Competition, livestreamed event
Click here for a detailed schedule and Upper Parade Ground location of each company;  
click here for an example of the competition scorecard.

Noon to 1 p.m.: Sullivan Museum & History Center virtual tour 
Click here to view

NUTV: Click here
1 to 2:30 p.m.: Knockout Drill Competition and Ceremony, livestreamed event.

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