Awards ceremonies welcome Class of 2022 into professional orders, laud academic achievements

As Norwich University’s Class of 2022 made its final rounds and headed to Commencement and postcollege life, many individual schools recognized students who’d excelled with ceremonies around campus.

Let’s visit a few.

School of Cybersecurity, Data Science and Computing | Mack Hall

At Mack Hall, Dr. Michael Battig dedicated the awards to Marion Frances Bosley, who died that morning. She’s the mother-in-law of Kelli Sutton-Bosley, M’13, M’16, Norwich’s Cyber Institutes assistant director.

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Dr. Frank Vanecek, Norwich University’s senior vice president of student affairs and technology, announces the winner of an award named in his honor during the School of Cybersecurity, Data Science and Computing Awards on April 30 at Mack Hall. (Photo by Matthew Crowley/Norwich University.)

He also introduced a new challenge coin, featuring the university’s “I Will Try” motto and described how Norwich has been integral in transcontinental networks. U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Grenville Dodge, a Norwich graduate, became the Union Pacific’s chief engineer, thereby helping birth the transcontinental railroad, the internet of its day.

“The future of the nation and the free world is looking for you to be the Norwich alumni in the tradition of Grenville Dodge, who will use technology … in the struggle against evil,” Battig said. 

Lauren Provost, an assistant professor of computer science and cybersecurity, said that to conquer cyberthreats, graduates will need Norwich-style sticktoitiveness. 

“You’ll hear me reference several activities (including the National Security Agency Cyber Exercise) that really enforce the notion to be persistent, to communicate, to work as a team through very challenging circumstances.”

School of Business | Mack Hall

School of Business Director David Blythe used a favorite comic strip, tacked to his office wall, to describe graduation’s specialness for parents and grandparents. The strip depicts a child who’s hit a game-winning Little League home run and asks his father whether he, too, had ever hit a game-winning homer. The father says he had. The child then asks if that was the father’s favorite athletic feat.

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Thomas Yandow, an associate professor for accounting in Norwich University’s School of Business, leads students through an ethics oath April 29 at Mack Hall. (Photo by Matthew Crowley/Norwich University.)

“Yes, it was,” the father said, “until today.” 

Charles A. Dana Professor Michael Puddicomb, who has a joint appointment in the School of Business and Management and the David Crawford School of Engineering, described how he hired Blythe (and needles him for it) and told students to do what brings them excitement and joy. Dr. Peter Appleton hailed students for helping him endure personal trials and asked them to carry the kindness forward.

Thomas Yandow, an associate professor of accounting, appeared by teleconference from a golf course way off campus, and told his students to practice ethics, even under pressure to misstate results.

“As you go out in the world, I want you to remember the Honor Code and let it guide your behavior,” he said, “Somebody needs to step up and set the right example, to make the right choices, even if it’s costly.”

Order of the Engineer and Order of the Constructor | Plumley Armory

Dr. Michael Prairie, an electrical and computer engineering professor explained the Order of the Engineer & Order of the Constructor’s code of conduct, saying the orders expect Norwich graduates to apply technology and unify engineers as they practice. David Crawford School of Engineering Director Dr. Karen Supan said the Order of the Engineers’ roots trace back to 1926, when Canadian engineers hatched the idea of a ceremony and oath for entry and began the tradition of wearing an iron ring on the working hand’s pinkie. 

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Dr. Michael Prairie, the Greenville Dodge Chair of Engineering at Norwich University, describes the Order of the Engineer Oath on April 29 Plumley Armory. (Photo by Matthew Crowley/Norwich University.)

For years, the rings were forged from the Quebec City Bridge’s steel superstructure, she said. Modern rings are now stainless steel. The rings remind the engineers of their responsibility to the public. Professor Dr. Adam Sevi said Order of Constructors members wear the same rings on their pinkies or on neck chains for similar symbolism.

After the students had sworn an oath to practice engineering responsibly, Supan said engineers are entering a decision-making industry poised for progress.

“Technologically, the environment of today is highly sophisticated, highly complex and demands ingenuity to protect the public’s safety, health and welfare, while at the same time improving the quality of life,” she said. “Throughout your professional career, you will stick your neck way out for decision making. But I am confident that you have the technical ability and social awareness to fulfill our creed, pledge and code of ethics.”

School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony and Reception | Mack Hall

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A nursing student receives a bouquet of flowers from School of Nursing faculty as he crosses the stage during the April 29 Nurse Pinning Ceremony in Mack Hall’s auditorium. (Photo by Matthew Crowley/Norwich University.)

The tradition of pinning nurses dates to the 1860s and British nurse and social reformer Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), who transformed nursing by setting new sanitation standards. She received the Red Cross of St. George for her patient care during the Crimean War and then began presenting medals to diligent graduates of the nurse training school she established with St. Thomas’ Hospital in London.

Dr. Paulette Thabault, who completed her last semester as School of Nursing director, congratulated nurses for pivoting to learn from pandemic-forced online learning. Thabault noted that some nursing students had visited Costa Rica on a service-learning mission, staffing a medical clinic for refugees fleeing violence in Nicaragua.

Thabault said the nurses should wear their compassion cords proudly and give themselves silent congratulations for facing a profession bent in unexpected ways by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I believe this has helped you realize just how critical you are as professional nurses to the health care system,” she said, encouraging the students to find mentors and take advantage of programs to help them. “The nursing profession and your future patients in whatever specialty area you choose are very fortunate to have you.”

School of Architecture + Art Awards | Chaplin Hall Gallery

School of Architecture + Art Director Cara Armstrong congratulated graduates for thriving amid the pandemic, which has grimly entered its third year. This setback-conquering skill will matter particularly now, when world needs good designers the most, she said.  

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Cara Armstrong, the director of Norwich University’s School of Architecture and Art, addresses students April 29 in Chaplin Hall’s gallery. Tolya Stonorov, the school’s associate director, stands at left. (Photo by Matthew Crowley/Norwich University.)

“We are at a moment in history when the word will think, ‘Pay attention to you,’” she said. “Like never before, as leading designers of scale, you, more than anyone else, hold in your hands the answers to the most important questions we all face.”

Students will create beautiful new forms everywhere, Armstrong said, in cities and towns, landscapes, military bases, and maybe other planets. They will incorporate light, plants, trees and water, imagining new ways for these elements to interact, she said, thereby letting societies live more richly and meaningfully.

Tolya Stonorov, the school’s assistant director, said graduation brought the end of college, it also allowed a fresh start, and a way to teach others about climate justice, community organization and how design affects lives.

“I encourage you all as young architects, to take the tools you have learned here and use them to do good with your own work,” she said, “to lift up people around you who need help, and to make the world the place you envision it to be.”

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