Hundreds of alumni returned to the Hill during 2022 Homecoming festivities in September to gather with friends and classmates, meet current students, and celebrate their shared passion for Norwich
BY DIANE SCOLARO (AS TOLD TO SEAN MARKEY)
NORWICH RECORD | Winter 2023
Homecoming is a chance to welcome our alumni home. We say “home” because for so many Norwich graduates, the years they spent on the Hill as young men and women, just 18 to 22 years old, were the most formative years of their lives. During Homecoming weekend, they come “home” to where they grew up and became the adult and person they were destined to be.
There’s always a moment or two that I find tears running down my cheeks. Inevitably, I feel my emotions catch during the Alumni Parade. The Saturday morning march onto Sabine Field is an emotional showcase of our alumni from NU’s oldest classes to its newest. This year, Bob Crecco represented the Class of 1947, our oldest class, followed next by Gene Ward from the Class of 1949. Gene and Bob both refused to ride in a golf cart during the parade. They walked the length of Sabine Field, and were proud to do that, carrying their guidon. What I found so impressive and moving was not just their stamina but their pride. They’re still here, and it was important for them to make the trip home to Norwich to represent their class. It is always a special thing to witness.
The groundwork for another special moment for me begins a month or so before Homecoming, with the arrival of all our incoming students, particularly rooks in the Corps of Cadets. You see that moment where their moms are hugging them, they’re crying and proud of their sons and daughters for getting into Norwich. Then you fast-forward a month—or, indeed, a half century—and you see our Old Guard return 50 years after graduation. They are so proud to walk under the arc of swords to receive their Old Guard medallion. But there on the sidelines are their wives, taking pictures of them in the same way that their mothers did when they first arrived as students at Norwich. And so, one gets to see it come full circle or just begin for those who are just arriving or just graduated, and those alumni who have carried Norwich with them in their hearts and in their lives for all those years.
Diane Scolaro is associate vice president of the Office of Alumni and Family Engagement, where she has overseen Homecoming planning for the past 12 years.