A new scholarship honoring the legacy and excellence of the Hill’s first Black graduate has reached endowment status in less than a year
BY JENNIFER B. WELLS
NORWICH RECORD | Spring 2022
Harold “Doc” Martin (Class of 1920) embodied the Norwich motto, “I will try.” A trailblazer and a role model, he was the Hill’s first Black cadet.
A star athlete, he studied electrical engineering and was active in campus life. After graduating from Norwich in 1920, he enjoyed a successful career, pitched two seasons in the Negro Leagues, and earned a master’s degree from New York University. During World War II, he served at Tuskegee Army Airfield until he died in a tragic plane crash in 1945.
Last year, five distinguished Norwich alumni—Maj. Gen. Cedric George ’87 USAF, (Ret.); Lowell Price ’93, Willie Wright ’93, Tony Johnson ’94, and Tonya Thorne ’94—created a scholarship fund to honor Martin’s legacy.
Thanks to their generosity and that of more than 135 donors, the Harold “Doc” Martin ’20 Memorial Scholarship reached endowment level in less than a year. The achievement will allow the funds to help students in perpetuity. Norwich will award the first Harold “Doc” Martin scholarship this fall. “Every Norwich alum should be proud of the Black legacy and excellence coming from Norwich,” says Price, a long-time pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry executive. “Contributing to the scholarship helps continue that legacy.”
Price, who chairs the Harold “Doc” Martin Scholarship Committee, says Norwich has built a strong track record of graduating exceptional Black alumni who have done tremendous things. “I’ve been fortunate in my career to lead global teams that made a difference,” he says. “Norwich played a big part, giving me the confidence to do things that I would have thought were beyond my reach.”
Like Price, giving back has been a common theme for the many donors to the “Doc” Martin scholarship fund. Nearly all Norwich students receive some financial aid.
Leah Cifuentes ’19 & M’20, a Corps graduate and Pittsburgh native who now lives in Chicago, was one of them. “I received a lot of financial aid and scholarships when I attended Norwich, and I know it would not have been possible without [them],” she says.
Cifuentes was among the many donors to support the Harold “Doc” Martin Scholarship Fund. “I think it’s especially important to give to scholarships that honor or benefit diverse groups. As someone who is part Latina, that deeply resonates with me.”
Cifuentes concedes that most grads her age are not usually donors. They’re starting their careers and may not be nostalgic about Norwich—yet. But she says she encourages fellow classmates to give anyway “because the act of giving something to Norwich means more than [the amount].” “If everyone from the Class of 2019 gave $15 or $20, that makes an impact. It all adds up.”