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.

In this video

Norwich University President Mark C. Anarumo updates the Norwich community on COVID-19 operations, athletics, spring events and Commencement and Joint Commissioning planning for May 1 celebrations.

The countdown to our in-person 2021 Commencement and Joint Commissioning ceremonies has begun! We are thrilled to be able to celebrate this important milestone in the lives of our students with a limited number of our parents, families, and guests.

Based on current guidelines established by the Vermont Forward Plan, I am pleased to provide you additional details regarding our decision to permit guests to attend:

  • Norwich University will host two (2) indoor Commencement ceremonies at 9:00 a.m. and two (2) Commencement ceremonies at noon. These ceremonies will be held simultaneously at each time slot in Shapiro Fieldhouse and Kreitzberg Arena in keeping with the physical distancing guidance and COVID-19 protocols stipulated in the Vermont Forward Plan for indoor events to ensure the health and safety of the Norwich community and our guests. These ceremonies are being developed for Norwich University’s colleges and schools, with more details forthcoming in the week ahead as we work through our student preferences and guestlists.

On April 6, 2021, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott released a reopening guide to provide Vermonters and state business and higher education communities the path for a phased return to unrestricted travel, business operations, and event gatherings. The plan was developed by the Department of Health, the Department of Public Safety, and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and uses vaccination milestones to ensure a safe easing of personal restrictions and continued reopening of the state's economy.

What does the Vermont Forward Plan mean to Norwich University?

Simply stated, Norwich University is now able to welcome and host guests to our onsite, in-person 2021 Commencement and Joint Commissioning ceremonies on Saturday, May 1. Each graduate will be permitted to invite two (2) fully COVID-19 vaccinated guests.

Effective immediately, we are able to loosen select Campus Quarantine Phase 2 restrictions for commuter students and student employment on campus. Please review the following updates to Phase 2:

Commuter Students Welcome on Campus

We are pleased to welcome commuter students back to campus.

In order to come onto campus, commuter students must participate in COVID-19 surveillance testing. Commuter students will be required to test two times each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If an alternate testing day is needed, commuter students should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to coordinate an alternative testing day. Hours of operation for the Plumley Armory COVID-19 Testing Site: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 

First, it is still our intention to hold both Commencement and Joint Commissioning ceremonies on the same day and in person. All graduating seniors studying on campus, commuting or studying remotely are invited to participate.

As we continue our spring semester planning, this memo includes additional details about the Class of 2021 Commencement and Joint Commissioning ceremonies, scheduled for Saturday, May 1. We do not yet have all of the details but wanted to provide you with as much information as we can so you may plan accordingly. We will continue to share weekly updates on Fridays at noon, beginning this Friday, April 2. These updates will be emailed to students as well as posted to my.norwich announcements and our norwich.edu/commencement website.

Norwich University’s graduating future officers will hear remarks from a fellow alumnus at this spring’s joint services commissioning ceremony. Major General Gary Keefe ’86, USAFR, Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard, returns to the Norwich campus to speak to ROTC commissioning officers during a formal ceremony to mark the occasion on at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 1.

The in-person, outdoor event is planned to take place on Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium and will be streamed live for those students commissioning remotely, as well as for the Norwich community. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in Shapiro Field House. This event is part of Norwich University’s Commencement Weekend.

As the spring semester draws to a close, students may be electing to leave campus early and conclude their spring semester studies remotely. Students and their families may understandably have questions about whether Norwich University will refund students a prorated amount of room and board for the unused Spring 2021 semester. The answer is yes if a student requests to go remote and leaves the campus on or before April 12, 2021.

Effective immediately, we will conclude Phase 1 of campus quarantine. Residential students will transition to Phase 2 of campus quarantine and will be permitted to request leave from campus.

During Phase 2, it is vital that students continue to fully comply with the Student Behavioral Contract and the Daily Health Screening, adhere to the Mask Use Policy, maintain physical distancing, follow hand hygiene guidelines, and adhere strictly to the current “student household” restrictions. While we are all experiencing COVID-19 fatigue and frustration, compliance with these guidelines is critical to keeping our community healthy and safe.


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