THE PRESIDENT’S VIEW – SPRING 2016
A true visionary, Norwich founder Captain Alden Partridge had that rare quality of being able to conceive of future solutions to current challenges, and then act on them. Although his innovative ideas were not universally well received by his peers, in true I WILL TRY fashion, he persevered until he saw his dreams transformed into reality. Today, nearly two centuries after the founding of the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy, Norwich citizen-soldiers are still carrying out Partridge’s extraordinary dedication to service, innovation, and perseverance so central to our mission. This issue of the Record, the third in our Year of Transformation, pays homage to Partridge’s extraordinary legacy of turning ideas into action.
In the early 1800s, when steam locomotives first came into use, Partridge recognized the tremendous need for railways in America. His Academy trained dozens of civil engineers who surveyed the land, moved the earth, and laid the tracks that allowed for the transportation of people and goods from one U.S. city to another. Grenville M. Dodge, Class of 1850, is perhaps the most well-known of these.
By the mid-1800s, the rapid growth of U.S. cities created a critical demand for clean, abundant drinking water and the healthy disposal of wastewater. Again, it was Partridge’s protégés who engineered some of our nation’s largest urban water and sewer systems.
One hundred years later, Partridge’s legacy of meeting the needs of the republic manifested again, this time in the careers of Norwich-trained graduates who played leading roles in the construction of our nation’s interstates beginning in the 1950s.
Today, the need for asphalt superhighways has given over to the demand for virtual ones. In keeping current with the times, Partridge’s legacy of service continues, as Norwich-trained cyberwarriors defend our nation’s digital infrastructure from attack.
We are fast approaching our bicentennial milestone. As I crisscross the country this year, I hope to meet and talk with many of you about the exciting plans ahead for the Forging the Future campaign. The projects it supports are already transforming the academic experience at Norwich for students and faculty alike, beginning with the recent renovations to the Kreitzberg Library.
Educating the students of today to become the innovators and leaders of tomorrow has never been more important. If your Norwich education helped transform you into the person you are, consider helping ensure that Partridge’s legacy of transformation continues well into its third century, by contributing your time, talent, or treasure.
Richard W. Schneider
RADM, USCGR (Ret.)