Commandant, regimental commander update first-year members of Corps of Cadets in video

In a normal year, rooks, recruits in Norwich University’s Corps of Cadets who met training objectives would have had two recognition ceremonies between Thanksgiving and the winter semester break — the years-old traditional late-night private session and the daytime public session, inaugurated in 2019.

But, as everyone knows, this year hasn’t been normal.

Col. Michael Titus, commandant of the Corps of Cadets, and Caleb Miller ’21, the regimental commander, posted a video Friday to answer lingering rook recognition questions.

“To be clear, all the rooks are recognized as of now, regardless of when the recognition ceremony happens.”Michael Titus, commandant, Norwich University Corps of Cadets

“We wanted to make sure we did a professionally planned recognition ceremony that maintains the traditions that our cadets love so much,” Titus said. “We still plan to do that. … when we can get the campus open.”

Rookdom aims to help build resiliency and developmental toughness, Titus said, and the COVID-19 obstacles training environment ensured this happened.

“To be clear, all the rooks are recognized as of now,” Titus said, “regardless of when the recognition ceremony happens.”

Norwich President Mark C. Anarumo, in his Thursday town hall for the Norwich community, said that the rook recognition ceremony would probably come in August ahead of the 2021-22 academic year. Rooks who want to leave campus to study remotely for the rest of the semester shouldn’t feel compelled to stay, he said.

rooks march min
Rooks from the Class of 2024 march in formation by the Upper Parade Ground in September 2020. (Photo by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)

“If we tried to do a recognition this spring semester, it would not be the ceremony you deserve,” Anarumo said. “We will do the kind of ceremony that you’ve earned. We’ll do this very, very well with dignity and class.”

Meanwhile, Miller, who delivered encouraging words in August before the fall semester, explained the privileges rooks earned and may enjoy once the modified in-room quarantine ends. They may switch from their “ROOK” caps to patrol caps and may keep their room doors closed after business hours on weekdays and all day Sunday. Rooks may also, he said, transition into training’s mentorship phase and begin using the personal pronouns “I” and “me.”

However, in a Friday student town hall, Titus said the recognized rooks will not receive full privileges yet. Wearing civilian clothes, for example, will wait.

Miller reminded the rooks that privileges aren’t rights.

“Maintain this level of excellence, stay the course,” he said. “And never give up on the mission or each other.”

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