Looking Back – Summer 2015

(Photo by Homer Smith.)

(Photo by Homer Smith.)

Commencement, 1984

Norwich University’s 165th commencement has earned the dubious distinction of being the “wettest” on record. In anticipation of inclement weather, the event was set to take place in Plumley Armory; but Saturday morning dawned clear, so the metal folding chairs were relocated to the Upper Parade. That afternoon, as the Class of 1984 lined up, the skies grew dark and rain began to fall—lightly at first, then heavily. Norwich President W. Russell Todd ‘50 stated in his opening remarks that the ensuing ceremony would be abbreviated, prompting a cheer from the already soggy assemblage. The guest speaker, General Paul X. Kelley, commandant of the United States Marine Corps, cut his remarks short, but not before mentioning the presence of his friend General Jonas M. Platt, USMC (Ret.), Class of 1940. Instead of filing across the podium one by one to receive their diplomas, the 253 degree candidates had their degrees conferred on them en masse. The four honorary degree recipients were awarded their honorary doctorates later, in Chaplin Library. As Norwich’s newest alumni—their spirits dampened and their clothes drenched—departed the UP for the last time, the crowd hastily dispersed. Were you there? What were you thinking as the deluge rained down? Send your memories of the 1984 commencement to record@norwich.edu. – d.l.w.

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