IN THEIR OWN WORDS – SPRING 2016
Richard Hayden ’68,
Full Circle: Coaching for Leadership.
Richard Hayden ’68, a third-generation Norwich alumnus, has served as a Norwich trustee and NUAA president. This account is a close adaptation of a letter he sent to President Richard W. Schneider the day after Phung Pham’s naturalization ceremony.
In November, my wife, Mary Jane (MJ), and I had the distinct pleasure of witnessing a naturalization ceremony at the federal district court in Rutland that included Norwich senior c/CPT Phung Pham ’16. I have had the pleasure of knowing Phung since March of his freshman year, when we both participated in the inaugural Coaching for Leadership event. Phung was randomly assigned as my “coachee.”
My advice to him at the time was: 1) Knock the academics out of the park, 2) focus on improving your English, as he was fewer than two years removed from Vietnam at the time, 3) seek leadership opportunities in the Corps, and 4) become a U.S. citizen. We have stayed in contact in a mentoring relationship ever since the first coaching session.
Not many people take my advice, and I’m sure that Phung would have done all those things without my input, as he is a very motivated and hardworking individual. However, as of 1300 Tuesday, November 17, 2015, he is four-for-four on those key points, on his way to a successful career in cybersecurity on top of serving in the Army National Guard.* Phung is an example of the best that Norwich can produce. He will be a great alum and, I expect, an even greater American.
The event also caused me to reflect on my own appreciation of the value and responsibilities of being an American citizen. As presiding federal district Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford counseled the 25 people from 18 countries who took the U.S. Oath of Allegiance, I was reminded that citizenship is not something to put on the shelf—it must be actively used in order for our democracy to work. So, I took the opportunity to encourage Phung to get involved in government at all levels and not sit on the sideline as most Americans now do. He replied, “Yes, Sir!” I am confident that once he figures out what that all means, he will be right in the thick of things, making a constructive and informed impact.
My wife and I presented Phung with an American flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol, along with a copy of the U.S. Constitution. I don’t know how many students actually become citizens while at Norwich, but for me, this was very special, and I am pleased to share the good news with the Norwich community.
Thanks to the whole team that has put together the Coaching for Leadership** program—I’m on board for as long as I am wanted.
Editor’s note: We learned recently that Phung’s dad (who lives in Vietnam) was an artilleryman in the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam, which means it is highly likely he fought side by side with some Norwich warriors of that era. He was apparently jailed (in lieu of being executed) after the fall of Saigon, and was later forced to move to farming country along with his wife and children.
* Phung’s major is Computer Security and Information Assurance, and his military occupational specialty is infantry.
**Learn more about the Coaching for Leadership program.
The Record recently learned that another Norwich undergraduate has become an American citizen. Wearing his gray tunic, Joseph Sejin Kim ’19 took the oath at a naturalization ceremony in Burlington, Vt., this past February. Kim, who emigrated from South Korea in 2008, is looking ahead to a career in the Marine Corps.
Did you become a U.S. citizen while enrolled at Norwich? Email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.