On behalf of the University, I express my sincerest appreciation to everyone who has contributed to our students’ success and commend all who worked tirelessly to ensure their special day come to fruition. I recognize that many of our parents, families, and guests will be using this occasion to not only celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2021, but also to visit their alma mater and to possibly reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. Some alumni may be coming with fond memories of past commencement ceremonies and possibly expecting to take part in certain traditions. For this reason, I wish to highlight a number of changes we must make to this year’s celebrations to ensure the health and safety of our entire Norwich community and to meet the State of Vermont COVID-19 guidelines on hosting gatherings. As a reminder, these guidelines carry with them the force of law; we do not have the option to non-comply with the published requirements.
As the birthplace of ROTC, Norwich University takes immense pride in producing exceptional military leaders for our country. The Class of 2021 includes 169 commissionees representing four branches. I am especially delighted that Maj. Gen. Gary Keefe, U.S. Air Force, retired, NU’86 and Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard, has graciously accepted our invitation to deliver the Joint Commissioning Ceremony keynote address at this event.
We are now just two weeks away from Norwich University’s May 1st in-person 2021 Commencement and Joint Commissioning ceremonies. Please know we are doing all that we can to ensure a safe, celebratory recognition of our students and their achievements. Our priority is to provide the best possible experience for our seniors, in accordance with the capacity and crowd limits that are now in place under the Governor’s Vermont Forward Plan.