2013-14 Annual Report: Changing Lives One Student at a Time

Photo courtesy Liz Kennedy ’01.

Photo courtesy Liz Kennedy ’01.

The Impact of the Brian R. Bill ’01 Memorial Scholarship

We often hear about the ways Norwich alumni have served during their lifetimes, but what about after their lives have ended? For many of us, service ends with death, but for some—like Brian R. Bill, Class of 2001—service continues in spite of it.

Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, USN, served his country courageously and selflessly until he was killed in Afghanistan three weeks before his 32nd birthday. But thanks to the generosity of the Norwich family, the story doesn’t end there: Brian’s legacy of service will go on indefinitely.

The Brian R. Bill ’01 Scholarship Fund, established in 2012 by Brian’s family and friends, provides financial assistance to Norwich students who are the sons and daughters of Navy SEALs or those who have served in Special Forces. Cadet Matthew Stannard ’15, of Manassas, Va., is the first recipient of the scholarship. A senior, Matthew will commission into the U.S. Navy next May, and considers Brian Bill his role model. He says trying to live up to Bill’s values is no easy task. “Learning about him drives me to do everything with honor, courage, commitment, and selfless service to my country, my friends, and my family,” Matthew says.

Each year the scholarship fund increases. A recent event in Brian’s hometown of Stamford, Conn., netted $135,000 from a golf tournament, sold-out dinner, and auction, the latter of which featured a bottle of Honor Wine that went for a whopping $9,000. More than 100 golfers participated, and well over 200 people attended the dinner. To date, the annual golf tournament, private donations, and an on-campus winter obstacle course competition—the Brian Bill Memorial Challenge—have raised more than $369,000 for the endowed fund, the interest from which supports the scholarship.

Bill’s mother and stepfather, Patricia and Michael Parry, couldn’t be prouder of what their son has been able to accomplish in death because of who he was in life. “Brian was an amazing son who became an even more amazing man and warrior,” his mother says. “When Brian was killed, we knew immediately that we wanted to create a living memorial to him and reached out to NU to establish the scholarship in his name. Brian’s time at Norwich was critical in shaping the hero he was, and we are humbled by the love and support we have received in carrying on Brian’s legacy.”

For information on contributing to an existing scholarship at Norwich (or establishing a new one), contact: Casey McMorrow cmcmorro@norwich.edu or 802-485-2115.

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