As the end of my final year as president draws near, I find myself reflecting on what Norwich and Norwich people have meant to me, while also thinking ahead about our university’s future.
Serving Norwich has never felt like a job. It goes much deeper than that. Everything Norwich represents perfectly aligns with my beliefs, convictions, and values—matching every dimension of my personality. Where else could I find an opportunity to be in academics and support the military at the same time? Two activities I love!
More significantly, the position has given me meaningful purpose, such that I am having difficulty envisioning disengaging. For the past 28 years, the students, faculty, and staff have been my source of energy and intellectual stimulation. They invigorate me; every morning I cannot wait to get up and go to work.
The children’s author A. A. Milne wrote, “How lucky to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” There are so many things Jaime and I are going to miss: dancing at the Regimental Ball; cheering on our terrific sports teams; attending band concerts, Pegasus Players performances, the Military Writers’ Symposium, and the Todd Lecture Series; participating in our Junior Ring ceremonies; and of course, presiding over rook and civilian arrivals, Homecoming, Commencement, and Commissioning.
Most of all, Jaime and I are going to miss seeing Norwich students grow up before our eyes. It is a privilege to witness their transformation from wide-eyed freshmen to confident graduates. Informally engaging with students while walking our dogs around the UP has given us the opportunity to forge real connections. The bonds of friendship we have formed with students, faculty, staff, and alumni have been by far the most rewarding aspect of our time on the Hill.
It is because Norwich molds great people—whole, well-rounded, down-to-earth, commonsense people. It produces doers and makers, leaders who are able to get things done. And it has molded me as well. Norwich gave me the opportunity to have a vision and then execute on that vision. That is what founder Alden Partridge did. It is what Norwich still teaches.
In the spirit of our motto, “I Will Try,” I have endeavored to serve Norwich faith¬fully and to the best of my ability, while remaining true to Partridge’s vision. And thanks to your faithfulness, I will depart from our be¬loved Hill having left it on solid footing. I cannot thank you enough for your support, your loyalty, and above all, your friendship. That said, I need everyone reading this to provide our new president with the same level of commitment you have provided me. It is easy to say, “Norwich forever!” But if you truly mean those words, turn them into action.
Our world needs Norwich graduates more than ever. As I look to Norwich’s future, I see great promise and the continuation of our mission “to make moral, patriotic, efficient, and useful citizens.” Even though I will no longer be at the helm, Norwich will remain forever in my heart, and Jaime and I will be cheering from the sidelines, watching with great interest and devotion.
Richard W. Schneider
RADM, USCGR (RET.)