Your Letters – Fall 2015

Thank-You Letters

Thank you for devoting the spring issue of the Norwich Record to 50 Years of Norwich Nursing.

In a few weeks my youngest daughter will be graduating from the nursing program at Messiah College [Pennsylvania]. “The President’s View” inspired me to read more about Florence Nightingale, who I learned was responsible for nursing 4,000 soldiers in 16 days during the Crimean War. Although she was severely ill the second half of her life and unable to see visitors, she was nonetheless instrumental in improving nursing care in England’s military and society—building hospitals, managing nursing schools, teaching sanitation, caring for the poor, and promoting irrigation in India. Through great opposition, Florence Nightingale impacted the world significantly for good. She was a model for our leaders today.
Pete Duncan ’69
Southbury, Connecticut

Thank you for the great edition on Norwich’s nursing program. I was one of several who took advantage of the VA-Norwich partnership, graduating with my BSN in 1992. The timeline lists 1994 as the first RN to BSN graduates, but I believe it was the Class of 1991 (which included Paula Howes and Gail Havens) that was the first. I enjoyed the profiles and recognized names from my classes (Jean Coffey) and from my past work at the White River Junction Veterans Administration Medical Center (Melissa Davis). Thanks for the memories!

Ellen Ballard, RN, BSN, OCN ’92
Fort Myers, Florida

More on Water

In 1991, as a recent graduate of NU, my first active duty assignment as a commissioned naval officer was at Naval Ordnance Station, Indian Head, Md., under the command of CAPT Ed Nicholson. The opportunity afforded me by CAPT Nicholson forever changed my life. Twenty-four years later, Ed Nicholson continues to positively impact the lives of military service members through Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF), an organization he founded in 2005.

PHWFF is a national non-profit dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. What began as a single program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2005 has grown to 180 programs in 50 states, with affiliates in Canada and Australia. This year more than 2,500 volunteers will engage more than 6,000 participants nationwide.

Veterans spanning decades of wartime conflict find healing on the water through Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, which is headquartered near my home. I know that the Norwich Record reaches a lot of veterans; there may be Norwich alumni who would benefit from this form of healing or who would like to serve others by volunteering with the organization.

Rob Roberts ’91
White Plains, Maryland

(Editor’s note: To learn more, visit

Memories of the 1984 Commencement

Associate Professor of History Dennis Klinge and I were seated under the Jackman Hall overhang in front of a massive American flag, with the racks of diplomas at the top of the “gallows.” My job was to hand the diplomas to President W. Russell Todd ’50 as each graduate’s name was called. The weather forecast called for rain with the possibility of thunderstorms. It did rain, and many faculty and visitors put up umbrellas. My significant other was seated on the portable aluminum stands, but left at the first flash of lightning. The Marine Corps general in dress whites gave the commencement address soaking wet. Dennis and I had a good view of the pattern on his boxer shorts through his very wet trousers. The president asked the graduates to stand, and in one or two sentences indicated that they were now graduates. Dennis and I retreated behind the flag and handed out the diplomas in the Jackman Hall entrance to those graduates who came by. Many faculty members had soaked academic regalia and were unhappy about the thought of paying for replacements.

Donald Wallace
Mechanical Engineering

(Editor’s note: Check out the story, “Professor Don Wallace: The Man, the Myth, the Legend,” which also appears on page 14 of the printed version.)

Concerning the 1984 Commencement, details have faded with time, but I certainly do remember the “rain.” I was in charge of the Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremony, my last official task prior to reassignment after three years at Norwich. Rain was falling shortly before the commissioning ceremony began and gradually increased in intensity. An Air Force general had flown in for the ceremony. Like General Kelley, he, too, wisely condensed his remarks. The newly commissioned Air Force officers, families, and AFROTC staff quickly moved indoors where gold bars were pinned onto epaulets. Mission accomplished!

Timothy J. Curley
Redlands, California

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