In separate sessions, guest speaker Dr. Joshua Fredenburg and university chaplain William Wick call for cooperation, compassion

As President Dr. Mark Anarumo says, Norwich University is both together and forever. Two events last week drove the message home.

— A packed audience of rooks, Corps of Cadets members and civilian freshmen packed Plumley Armory’s gymnasium Aug. 25 to hear a motivational address by Dr. Joshua Fredenburg, who’s spent 20-plus years studying diversity, equity and inclusion. The raucous session featured opening high-fives followed by calls-and-responses and a half-dozen standing ovations from and for the audience (and one for this flummoxed scribe, thank you).

The event was a programming debut for Dr. Julia Bernard, who, in August, became the university’s first vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Great leaders, Dr. Joshua Fredenburg said, create impact, by lifting one another’s spirits and razing perceptional barriers.

“Give yourselves a round of aplauuuuuuuuuuse,” shouted Fredenburg, who could have been Fredenburn given the pooling sweat that turned his sky blue shirt nearly navy blue. He shed his suit jacket 15 minutes into the program.

Fredenburg, who holds a Doctor of Education degree, cited several examples of people coming together. Sometimes, they convene for good, such as after natural disasters, like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed 200,000 people and orphaned 20,000 children. (Cooperation paid off; one of those orphaned children is now a Norwich rook.)

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Guest speaker Dr. Joshua Fredenburg emphasizes a point during his Aug. 25, 2021, presentation at Plumley Armory. (Photo by Mark Collier/Norwich University.)

Sometimes, Fredenburg said, people convene for play, as when supporting favorite sports teams. On Friday, for example, Norwich Cadets football fans will root, root, root for the home team, wherever they are.

Great leaders create impact, he said, by lifting one another’s spirits and razing perceptional barriers. He encouraged the crowd to take heed.

“They make people better, they make communities better, they make our nation better,” Fredenburg said. “They make our world a better place.”

Wick’s wisdom

— In Mack Hall Auditorium on Aug. 26, the Rev. William Wick, who’s beginning his 33rd year as Norwich University’s chaplain, offered an hour of sage semester survival tips. Wick wisdom.

Wick’s session included a tongue twister recital (about Ed Nott and Sam Shott, either of whom were shot, or not), several slides (including one of cartoon people rolling on the floor and laughing at an impossible class deadline) and the offer of the chapel as sanctuary for counsel, Vermont restaurant tips or quiet reflection.

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The Rev. William Wick addresses students Aug. 26, 2021, in Mack Hall’s auditorium. He advised students to work hard, work together and practice kindness for others and themselves. (Photo by Matthew Crowley/Norwich University.)

Chat, chill, Wick said, or chew on one of his wife’s famous chocolate butterscotch cookies (absent in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic).

Wick reminded the students that studies must always come first (“This is a very expensive hotel otherwise,” he said) and recommended they schedule a six-day study week, dividing required reading pages for the semester evenly. The seventh day can provide a time cushion if duties overrun their schedules (which they inevitably and often will).

“One day at a time,” he said, quoting a sign from a wall at Boston Children’s Hospital, where Wick helps juvenile cancer patients.

Because the worst critics stare back from the mirror, Wick said, he recommended emotional equation balancing, offsetting self-teardowns with self-buildups. Mix in patience and relaxation, he said, and help one another manage booming clocks.

“It takes time to do nothing, it takes time to do something; we can invest time or we can waste time,” Wick said. “The school is not designed to do it on your own. You learn to be a team from Day One.”

(Slideshow photos by Mark Collier and Matthew Crowley/Norwich University.)

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