The President’s View – Winter 2016
I believe participation in athletics transforms young people in a way that few activities can. By competing on one or more of our sports teams, Norwich students learn the true meaning of teamwork, communication, leadership, and loyalty. It is also a means by which to live the Norwich motto, “I will try,” every day.
Although Norwich students in the early part of the 19th century may not have participated in what we traditionally think of as “sport,” Partridge’s ideas concerning physical fitness were very similar to ours. He believed strongly in the value of walking long distances for one’s health, and was famous for leading cadets on 50-mile foot marches and expeditions. History tells us he was one of the earliest educators in the nation to place equal emphasis on physical and mental training as preparation for service.
At Norwich, we value athletics for many reasons. Besides those mentioned above, competition—whether on a varsity or club team—teaches students how to win with integrity, and lose with grace. In their coaches, our athletes have the benefit of mentors who maintain an ongoing interest in their academic progress and their athletic training. These coaches are also experienced life teachers, helping new students to navigate the sometimes shaky transition to college.
My wife, Jaime, and I love supporting our athletic teams, and try to make it to as many games as possible. To me the outcome of a particular contest is not of primary importance: What I care about is that our student-athletes keep trying. There have been many games where I have been grieving over the score, but so proud of our Cadets for never quitting. That is a win for me.
Another reason we value sports at Norwich is because they contribute to school spirit, and give people something to do here in Central Vermont. I love it when the place is packed to the rafters with excited fans loudly cheering on their roommates, buddies, and classmates.
And finally, athletic recruiting is a critical component of the admissions process. Many students say they chose Norwich over other schools because they knew they would be able to compete in their sport and earn a degree. Our feature in this issue about former NU rugby player Joya Clark is but one example of many.
On page 17 of the print issue you will see an ad for the Maroon and Gold Athletic Association (MGAA). For those of you not familiar with this organization, it is the official fundraising arm for intercollegiate athletics at Norwich. Its mission is to encourage involvement by alumni, parents, and friends of Norwich Athletics.
Your participation in the MGAA—or any of the smaller, individual athletics affinity groups—helps provide that margin of excellence so critical to student-athlete success. Thank you for your support, and I’ll see you at the game!
Richard W. Schneider
RADM, USCGR (Ret.)