Images capture campus in motion amid coronavirus pandemic, coursing swiftly behind masks

Norwich University Staff Photographer Mark Collier has seen scores of students experience college day-to-day in his 7½ years on campus. He’s captured them in class, on the march, gathered for meals, readying for life’s coming steps. This year, as the university adjusted to the coronavirus pandemic and new health and safety protocols, Collier said he frequently saw resilience in students as they minded distance, washed hands and wore masks. Everyone, he said, seemed to adopt the U.S. Marine Corps mantra: adapt, improvise and overcome.

Students found their groove and their joy, he said, especially on a gray, drizzly August day. In a show of bonding, team building and ingenuity, a small group of Corps of Cadets upperclassmen laid tarps on a hill by the baseball field and used the rainfall as a lubricant for a makeshift Slip ’N Slide.

During the spring semester, Staff Photographer Mark Collier adjusted to the pandemic, using longer lenses for 50-meters-back, at-a-distance shots instead of the wide-angle, up-close shots he’s traditionally taken.

“They came up with an entire safety plan for how it would work and were able to explain to the Commandant’s Office why it would be safe for them to do this,” Collier said. “It was a very small thing, but it was a really cool example of how students were rising to the challenge of what we’re dealing with and finding a way to do something fun.”

This semester, Collier said he, too, adjusted to the pandemic, using longer lenses for 50-meters-back, at-a-distance shots instead of the wide-angle, up-close shots he’s traditionally taken. Collier nevertheless found hundreds of worth-capturing moments, many showing grit’s rewards.

ROTC students, for example, performed their traditional summer field exercises in the woods, masks and all. When civilian students couldn’t crowd onto Sabine Field for the semester-starting oath ceremony, they hiked up Paine Mountain in small packs for a distanced version.

“There was certainly stuff going on,” he said. “The campus was vibrant and alive.”

Here are his 10 favorite shots of 2020.

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photo of year 3 min

Everybody in
Katie Bishop-Manning, one of the goalies for the NU 2018 NCAA National Championship women’s ice hockey team gives a few encouraging pregame words to the university’s club team. Bishop-Manning was a trisport athlete at Norwich, playing soccer, lacrosse and ice hockey. Before the pandemic forced sports to shut down for safety, the club team played in the Independent Women’s Club Hockey League against other regional schools including Springfield College, Dartmouth College, Paul Smith’s College and Union College.

photo of year 2020 2 min

Crashing the cage
Norwich women’s lacrosse junior attacker Emily Schromm rushes the ball toward the goal against Plattsburgh State. Schromm, now a senior, has been a standout for the Cadets, ranking sixth all time in draw controls, eighth in caused turnovers and eighth in assists. … Schromm is a two-sport athlete, playing lacrosse and basketball … The Cadets women’s lacrosse team, coached by Heather Faasse, were 0-4 when the season was abruptly stopped, along with other spring sports, because of the coronavirus pandemic. The women’s lacrosse team went 7-10 in 2019. … During the recent Maroon & Gold Challenge fundraiser, the team raised $1,895 from 24 donors.

schneider car parade 1 min

Farewell, President Schneider
Jaime Schneider leans down to look at the photo montage during a farewell parade for herself and husband, now-President Emeritus Richard W. Schneider on May 5. One hundred seventy-two cars drove slowly along the concrete apron that rings the Upper Parade Ground in a coronavirus pandemic-safe procession. Drivers honked and waved, flashing homemade signs and flying balloons from windows in honor of President Schneider, who was heading toward retirement after 28 years leading Norwich University. Megan Liptak M’09, Residency Conference and events coordinator for the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies, called the parade, “one last standing ovation — or driving ovation.”

photo of year 5 min

We honor you, sir
Steven Wolf stands in uniform during his retirement ceremony from the U.S. Marine Corps in Plumley Armory. Wolf served 28 years in the Marines, having commissioned into the Marine Corps in May 1992 after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy. As his official Marine Corps bio shows, Wolf held several command positions in the Marine Corps, including 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and at the School of Infantry - East at Camp Geiger, North Carolina. Wolf’s bio page noted he was selected as an Olmsted Scholar in 1998, studied German at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and studied political science at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Wolf was promoted to colonel in 2014 while attending the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He came to Norwich in July 2017 after relinquishing command of the School of Infantry - East. He spent three years as the professor of Naval Science and served as the dean of the College of National Services. After retiring from the Marines and ceding his College of National Service deanship to U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Smith, Wolf became Norwich’s admissions director and is working to attract and orient future waves of student leaders to Norwich. 

Photo of year 7min

Shear anticipation
Incoming rooks stand under the eaves of the barbershop roof, just out of the rain, memorizing the cadet handbook as they await haircuts. The 2024 rook class arrived in a two-day surge in late August. Col. Michael Titus, the Corps’ commandant, Col. Matthew Smith, dean of the College of National Service and Frank Vanecek, Norwich’s senior vice president of student affairs and technology, worked all summer to ensure that training would be safe and COVID-19-compliant. Titus said the absence of some in-person campus activities left room, and time, for Corps student leaders, including Regimental Commander Caleb Miller, to shape their training this fall. “I tell (the student leaders), ‘For every challenge, you need to find the opportunity,’” Titus said.


Milestone arrivals
2020 rooks, first-year recruits in the Corps of Cadets, salute the statue of Norwich University founder Alden Partridge as they head to class in September. Sept. 4 marked the 200th anniversary of the first students arriving at Norwich, which began as the American Literary, Scientific & Military Academy. Students came to Norwich, Vermont, where the university was based then, from near (across the bridge in Hanover, New Hampshire) and far (southern Mississippi). Thirty-seven handwritten names recorded as arriving on Sept. 4, 1820, in the “Roll of Cadets” manuscript represent the Norwich community’s first students — half were younger than 16. The youngest, Joseph Hatch of Norwich, was only 9 years old. Only a quarter would be considered college-age today, with Thomas Freelon, a nearly 23-year-old U.S. Navy lieutenant, heading up the pack.

birds eye view min

We persevered
An aerial view of Norwich University’s campus. To follow Vermont Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, and to ensure students’ and families’ health and safety, Norwich fall semester started with students in phases in August. As the semester progressed, the Norwich community was careful to follow safety protocols outlined in the Maroon & Gold Behavioral Contract — keeping physical distance, wearing face masks and washing hands. For health and safety, campus operated at about 70 percent of full capacity or about 1,800 students. Norwich’s student body typically comprises about 2,200 residential students and more than 350 commuter students. Thanks to the facilities operations team’s efforts to clean and equip classrooms, faculty’s mastery of distance learning delivery and logistical planning by Norwich staff, the semester continued as planned.

photo of year 2020 8 min

Playing the field 
The light shines through the last bit of fall color illuminating the NU in initials on the entrance to Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium. Although the fall sports season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, sports teams continued to work out and practice. Fall athletes tested their mettle Oct. 3 during the virtual Homecoming, competing in the Grit Games. Sabine field accommodated physically distanced activities, including the Tri-Service Awards Ceremony in September and the Arnold Air Society’s 22-hour fundraising run in October. Several sports teams, including men’s lacrosse, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s lacrosse all used the turf for practice or intrasquad scrimmages.

photo of year 2020 9 min

Grit and bear it
Norwich University women’s soccer player Eduarda Da Silva lifts a log during the inaugural Grit Games on the U.S. Marine Corps obstacle course on campus. Twenty-two athletes from Norwich’s fall varsity athletic teams — men’s and women’s cross-country, football, men’s and women’s rugby, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball — competed against one another for team pride and recognition as part of the virtual Homecoming celebration. The games, which were livestreamed online, took place in two-person heats on the campus’s U.S. Marine Corps Obstacle Course near the Vermont National Guard building, included log hurdles; wall vaults; two-by-four balance walks; log flips; jumping burpees; bear crawls; sandbag hauls and finishing sprints. Da Silva, a sophomore, was the female individual champion; senior Jonah Faneuf ’21 and junior Jack Tellifson ’22 of the men's rugby team split the men’s individual title.

photo of year 10 min 

Missed shot, stellar season
Sophomore women’s ice hockey forward Ingrid Holstad-Berge shoots on goal against Elmira College on Jan. 6 at Kreitzberg Arena. Her shot missed; the game ended in a scoreless tie. But during the season, the team would score 166 goals on its way to a 23-4-2 record and a second straight sweep of the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Tournament. The team included senior forward Amanda Conway ’20, who won the Laura Hurd Award, given annually to the nation’s best Division III women’s ice hockey player.

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