By Richard W. Schneider< br/> The Norwich Record | Fall 2019
Around the time you receive this magazine, Norwich’s largest Bicentennial commemoration and celebration will soon be underway during Homecoming 2019. More than five years in the making, the jubilation has harnessed the talents of alumni, faculty, students, staff, and volunteers, who came together to perform thousands of hours of planning and execution. It is an effort befitting the occasion, and I sincerely hope that everyone reading this is able to take part in some way, and in so doing, feel a sense of awe at what this milestone represents.
As for me, I am incredibly grateful to have had the honor of being Norwich University’s president during this moment in our history. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I could not be more pleased with the outcome, particularly with regard to the Forging the Future campaign. We not only met our original fundraising goal of $100 million, we are on track to exceed it by some $10 million. Included in this issue of the Norwich Record is our 2019 Annual Report, which lists the names of the trustees and donors—our alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and supporters—who provided the leadership, guidance, and financial resources for us to realize our vision. As I have said many times before, vision without resources is hallucination. Time and again in my 27 years as your president, you all have proven to me that I am not hallucinating.
From day one of my presidency, I have tried to remain faithful to Capt. Partridge’s vision of educating and training citizen-soldiers. My business plan was simple: educate and train the students of today to protect, defend, and build this republic, and the republic will send us their best students. The plan required expanding and upgrading the physical plant, diversifying and modernizing our academic and co-curricular programs, and nationalizing our brand. In higher education, if you are not moving forward, you are falling behind; and in today’s competitive market, you cannot afford not to be out in front. Moving Norwich forward is something I never tire of, even as I approach the inevitable end of my time on the Hill. I can honestly say it holds even more excitement for me today than it did in 1992, and there is so much more I would like to do.
But I cannot go on indefinitely. As Norwich enters its third century of service to America, I will step aside to make room for my successor to pick up where I have left off. And he or she will stand on my shoulders, as I have stood on the shoulders of those who came before me.
In this last year of my presidency, I feel at times like the Roman god Janus, simultaneously looking ahead and back. I have presided over change and evolution—carefully navigating Norwich’s transition from past to future and from one era to another, while helping young people transition into adulthood. And even though I am sad to be leaving Norwich, I am excited about what our new president will bring. I have tried my best to provide a solid foundation on which to continue to transform this institution into the “Great American University” our founder envisioned more than 200 years ago.
Our Bicentennial has given each and every one of us the opportunity to recognize Capt. Partridge’s significant role in the development of higher education in this country, and to understand the value of his timeless ideas.
That is the power of the moment. That is what we are celebrating — Partridge and Norwich University’s cumulative impact on America and the world over the course of 200 years. I believe we have made our founder proud.
Richard W. Schneider
RADM, USCGR (RET.)