Photo: Dr. Mark Anarumo Studio Portrait

Norwich Record | Fall 2021

Norwich students are now back on campus, connecting with friends old and new, while throwing themselves into the challenges of academics, athletics, the Corps, ROTC training, and civilian experiences. Our nontraditional students, meanwhile, are busy tackling online experiences: Master’s programs, bachelor’s degree-completion, graduate certificates, and professional development programs through NU’s trailblazing College of Graduate and Continuing Studies and Norwich Pro®. Alumni from across the country and around the globe are preparing to return to the Hill this September for Homecoming—our first in-person gathering in two years.

Amidst these efforts, the Norwich community continues to find ways to innovate and lead through the many challenges facing not only our institution, but all of higher education. Public health crises, mental health stressors, political acrimony, global strife, and other challenges have not abated from last year’s highs as much as we all had hoped. In the face of these issues, we continue to fight for our students while keeping our learning and host communities thriving and safe. Through our “I Will Try” spirit, the Norwich family has prevailed against past challenges; the ways we will succeed through the current crises will make us stronger than ever. Our students will not have the same experiences familiar to many of us from past years; instead, we will be better. There is no “new normal,” there is only a new and better version of ourselves.

This is the core of “Norwich Together,” and why you will hear this phrase often in the coming months and years. Bringing our powerful history, talents, networks, and Norwich spirit to bear against complex issues is the key to our success. Solving problems in our own Norwich community will advance not only our institution, but also our nation, in whatever profession we serve, and for our global community. We are embarking upon a significant effort to leverage our extraordinary past and the foundation of our present to build the future state of our university. I will be discussing this theme often in the months ahead as I travel around the world to meet with our alumni, families, friends, and partners.

The transformational power of our Norwich community coming together to achieve greatness will be the focus of my inaugural address and at Homecoming. For those unable to participate, please know I will discuss the need for us to break out of traditional silos and work closer together, to innovate as a group of talented individuals towards common goals and not in competition with one another. Where we are headed can be distilled into a four-word phrase: “Norwich Together, Norwich Forever!” These two ideas—together and forever—are closely related and no doubt familiar by now. “Norwich Together” is our elevated state, rising from our foundation of “Norwich Forever.” Our alma mater Norwich Forever is the song we sing as one community, one of the many ties that bind us together as Norwich no matter when you graduated or in what capacity you currently serve or have served this amazing university.

There is undeniable value in bringing people together for a common purpose. In this issue of the Record, for example, you’ll find an interview with cybersecurity Professor Henry Collier, an Army Reserve chief warrant officer and program director at the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies. In Collier’s experience, the best cybersecurity teams draw from the widest and most varied backgrounds; because everyone on the team thinks differently, they approach problems from very different perspectives. As a result, the built-in creativity of those teams generates effective solutions.

Through the examples offered by Professor Collier and many others, we must recognize that the best idea for the future state of Norwich might come from unexpected or nontraditional sources. To ensure this is possible, we have to build a culture—“Norwich Together”—that not only enables but encourages creativity and agility in solving complex problems.

An example I like to share to illustrate where we are headed as an institution is beautifully illustrated by a challenge faced in the recent past of Zimbabwe. The climate in Zimbabwe, as you might imagine, can be oppressively hot. While planning a major construction project in the capital city of Harare, many involved with the proposal expressed concern with the energy requirements and electrical grid strains related to industrial air conditioning and ventilation. Groups were convened to explore options. The professions brought in to solve the problems represented those you would expect—structural and mechanical engineers, architects, electricians, experts on public works, etc. The problem was finally solved through not just an understanding of those fields, but by combining them with studies in entomology—the end result was a highly efficient series of facilities that used concepts perfected by termites prevalent across the savannahs of Southeast Africa. The construction was modeled after the termite colonies that naturally “breathed” in cool ground air and “exhaled” hot air that would otherwise stifle the colony. The complex problem was solved by exploring non-traditional solutions and building a culture that celebrates ingenuity and creativity. The planners allowed themselves to be challenged and ensured collaboration; this is the essence of “Norwich Together.”

The wide community that is Norwich—students, faculty, staff, coaches, parents, alumni, and partners—has a great deal to share. Ideas that will make us better and the networks to ensure success at all levels, up to and including our global community, come from multiple sectors. By working together, Norwich will remain relevant and achieve an elevated status in higher education far into the future.

I hope all of you will continue to share your thoughts and help in finding new and creative ways to make our wonderful school even better. We are ready for your ideas and partnerships as we ensure Norwich becomes even better than the already exceptional university we have become.

Norwich Together, Norwich Forever!

Dr. Mark Anarumo
Colonel, USAF (Ret)

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