The President’s View – Spring 2018

People often talk about the future as if it were an elusive, unquantifiable concept, something that just sort of “happens” without our having much, if any, control over it. Nothing could be further from the truth. If being a college president has taught me anything, it is that we are creating the future constantly—with every decision we make, and every action we take.

Captain Alden Partridge proved this many times. Even before he founded Norwich, he conceived of his citizen-soldier ethos, which 100 years later led to the creation of ROTC. In the early years of the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy, when Partridge led his students on excursions into the White Mountains to study botany and geology, conduct surveys, and take barometric readings, he was engaging in the now widely accepted practice of experiential learning. And in 1841, when he proposed his American System of Education to Congress, he laid the groundwork for the passage of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862.

So what do we mean, exactly, when we say Norwich is “shaping the future”?

Perhaps one way to illustrate this is by using a current example. Throughout this past winter, even as temperatures dipped well below zero, construction workers braved the winds on the upper floors of Mack Hall, framing out the exterior walls. For me, witnessing this process was like watching the future take shape before my eyes. Mere months from now, those steel girders will no longer be visible, but will be hidden by walls and floors, windows and doors. And manifested in what was once empty space will be state-of-the-art laboratories of inquiry and discovery.

The new $24 million building will contain engaging, flexible, and active learning spaces, including a case-study room and pocket lounges for interactive collaboration. It will also feature a 400-seat auditorium and performing arts space in which to host plays, musical events, symposia, lectures, and panel discussions. And perhaps most exciting of all, the new Mack Hall will have a cybersecurity war room in which teams of students can practice cyber-attack-and-defend exercises in real time in concert with other teams across the globe.*

The construction of Mack Hall and the renovation of Dewey, Webb, and Ainsworth will be the final campus building projects of the Forging the Future campaign, and the capstone of my presidency. It is a legacy that is being made possible by the generosity of the Norwich family. So far we have raised $88 million toward our goal of $100 million to fund the many projects of this campaign—one that will shape the future of Norwich for a long time to come.

All of this funding has come from you, our alumni and friends, students, faculty, and staff. It is a testament to your loyalty to Norwich—not just the Norwich of yesterday and today, but the Norwich of the next 200 years.

This fall at Homecoming, we will be cutting the ribbon on Mack Hall. Please join me and the rest of the Norwich family in making the future of Norwich part of your legacy.

Norwich Forever!

Richard W. Schneider

 

 

Richard W. Schneider
RADM, USCGR (Ret.)

 

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