Prof. Emily Fisher Gray’s 2015 Norwich University Convocation Address

Associate Professor of History Emily Fisher Gray earned her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and won the 2015 Homer L. Dodge Award for Teaching Excellence at Norwich University. The award recognizes distinguished contributions to university life through outstanding teaching. Yesterday, Gray addressed the Norwich community at Convocation. A copy of her prepared remarks follows.

Norwich University Office of Communications

September 2, 2015

Good afternoon! It is such a privilege to speak with you today. It is humbling to receive the Dodge Award in the presence of the world-class scholars and first-rate teachers that are my colleagues on the Norwich faculty. It was also a pleasure to join many of you last Sunday for the Dog River Run. I would like to thank the Corps of Cadets for inviting the faculty to be part of that great Norwich tradition, and thank my fellow members of the Faculty Platoon. Can’t think of anyone I’d rather get sweaty, muddy, and soaked with.

The first time I witnessed the Dog River Run was soon after moving into my house, which has property that borders the river. It was a normal late-summer Sunday morning and my family was preparing to go to church when we heard some commotion in the river and cannons going off so we went down to see what was going on. (By the way, I moved here from West Philadelphia. It has taken me a while to get used to the idea that when you hear gunfire, it’s a good thing!)

As we watched the platoons of Rooks slog through the river, I could see that it had been a very difficult week for many of them. But I noticed one young man in particular who had clearly been pushed to his limits. He looked completely exhausted and it was all he could do to keep his Dog River Rock clutched tightly to himself with both arms. Then I noticed that he had a platoon member on either side of him.

These two young men’s faces also showed the strain of a difficult week, but they appeared to have been better prepared for this particular physical challenge. Each of them held their rock under one arm. Each had their free arm wrapped around the waist their Rook brother: one on one side, one on the other. These two young men were carrying their friend down the river. They would not let him give up. They would not let him fail to finish.

The image of these three Rooks has stuck with me. The two guys that wouldn’t leave their buddy behind has become for me a symbol of what makes the students I teach at Norwich so remarkable and so different from students I have encountered elsewhere. You talk about service to others before self, and you really mean it!

I can clearly recall the face of the Rook in the middle, the one who was having the most difficult day of his life. College in general, and Norwich in particular, is designed to give you experiences that push you to your limits. When we say “expect challenge”, we mean it! Those of you for whom Rook Week was a breeze are likely to find yourself challenged by Chemistry or Calculus or Chinese, or by long late nights in your Architecture studio. Some of you will encounter uncomfortable new ideas in your classes, which cause you to reassess what you thought you knew. Many of you will find yourself confronting impossibly difficult moral or ethical dilemmas: resisting an opportunity to cheat on a test or take the apparently-easy path of plagiarism on a paper. Or you might face the necessity of reporting wrongdoing in a fellow student, which may be the hardest thing you ever have to do.

When the time comes that you feel like that Rook in the river, stretched to your absolute limit, I want you to look to your right, and look to your left. You have friends here. We will help you, even if we need to carry you for a while. Hold on to your rock and keep going forward. Your friends, and your professors, and the university staff all want to see you walk across this stage in triumph and receive a diploma that signifies that you are a graduate of Norwich University.

None of us succeeds entirely on our own. Think of Harry Potter, he wouldn’t have made it out of Book 1 if it wasn’t for Ron and Hermione! Or how about the Justice League? Aquaman has some cool talents, but he’s not going to catch the bad guys without Green Lantern and Batman and Wonder Woman on his team. A few weeks ago there were three friends traveling on a train to Paris, who took down a terrorist by working together. Talk about superheroes!

We are all stronger when we have each other’s backs. This means that sometimes, you are the one who gets to step up and help somebody else. And let me tell you, these opportunities to be of service to another person rarely come when you are strong and well-rested and have lots of time on your hands. The timing is almost always awkward and inconvenient. You might feel like you are nearly at the end of your rope yourself. Don’t let that stop you.

I felt inspired this last week listening to an interview with the Army Ranger School graduating class that included the two first-ever female Rangers: Captain Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver. A couple of the male graduates on their teams shared experiences from the final day of the grueling Mountain phase of Ranger training. 2nd Lt. Zachary Hagner had been carrying an automatic weapon for the squad for three days, and just couldn’t go any further. He asked each member of the squad if they would take it from him. He explained (quote) “Everyone said ‘no’. But [Griest] took it from me. She, just as broken and tired, took it from me. I guess she was really motivated.”

Similarly, Haver was also the only member of her squad who felt able to take on extra weight during the Mountain phase, helping a struggling 2nd Lt. Michael Janowski, who said (quote) “I probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now if not for Shaye.” How cool are these two women! In the midst of the toughest challenge of their lives, with the world watching and more than a few people waiting for them to fail, Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver both took on extra weight at a critical time to help their buddies so they could all earn a Ranger tab together. Seriously, who needs superheroes when we have the real thing right among us!

In closing, let me briefly thank my own “battle buddies” who have been right by my side on the great days and the tough days. My awesome husband Austin and kids Lucy and Gavin; my mother Suzanne Fisher and my in-laws Sharon and Howard Gray. Thanks guys, you’re the best. I love you.

As for the rest of you: study hard, get as much sleep as you can, don’t skip breakfast, and I’ll see you in class!

Related Articles

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Norwich University Officially Opens $6.8M Newly Renovated Kreitzberg Library

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Norwich University representatives gathered with building contractors and partners to celebrate the official opening of the campus’s newly renovated Kreitzberg Library today. A ceremonial ribbon-cutting event was held to mark the occasion.

The $6.8 million renovation is the first completed project under the Forging the Future campaign. Announced at Homecoming in 2014, the university’s largest comprehensive fundraising effort aims to raise $100 million in the five years leading up to the university’s bicentennial in 2019. To date, the campaign has raised nearly $68 million.

“This campaign is all about improving academics, so what better place to start than the library – a place used by the entire Norwich community,” President Richard W. Schneider said. “Its impact on students, staff, faculty and the surrounding community of Northfield will be enormous.”

At the Sept. 1 event, the Norwich community was introduced to its newly transformed library and its many major enhancements, including new workstations, group-study and collaborative-learning areas, new technology-enabled classrooms and a café.

Additional improvements include two new conference rooms, and a 77% increase in the number of seats, from 249 to 440. The new library also boasts a 10-fold increase in data speeds and capacity and state of the art collaborative tools, thanks in part to a $125,000 grant from the George I. Alden Trust given to support technology upgrades.

The library is named for principal donors Barbara and Fred Kreitzberg ’57, who were unable to attend the event, but who sent in a statement.

“Barbara and I have loved this library since its dedication in 1992,” Fred Kreitzberg ’57, said. “We know that students have enjoyed using this library and hope that with the new renovations it will be even better-suited for our technologically advanced students.”

Construction began Dec. 17, 2014, with approximately 40 Vermonters working on site on an average day. At times that figure climbed to 60. The construction was primarily completed by Vermont firms employing Vermont workers, including EF Wall, Bates & Murray Electrical, Vermont Mechanical and Red Thread.

Demonstrating Norwich’s commitment to sustainability, the vast majority of installed lighting use LED bulbs, subsidized by Efficiency Vermont, with an estimated energy efficiency of 80%-90%. In addition, air handling units were upgraded, low volatile organic compounds (VOC) paint was used, and virtually all construction debris was recycled.

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
(802) 485-2886; (m) 595-3613
dlarkin@norwich.edu
Follow us on Twitter @NorwichNews

 

Norwich University Celebrates $6.8M Kreitzberg Library Renovation

Upgrades include state-of-the-art technology and enhanced energy efficiency.
Norwich University Office of Communications

August 31, 2015

Norwich University representatives will gather with building contractors and partners to mark the official opening of the campus’s newly renovated Kreitzberg Library on Tuesday, Sept. 1. A ceremonial ribbon-cutting event will be held at 3:15 p.m. inside the library foyer to celebrate the occasion, followed by guided tours of the new facility.

The $6.8 million renovation is the first completed project under the Forging the Future campaign. Announced at Homecoming in 2014, the university’s largest comprehensive fundraising effort aims to raise $100 million in the five years leading up to the university’s bicentennial in 2019.

A state-of-the-art library when it was built 23 years ago, Kreitzberg Library serves as the main student and faculty library on the Norwich campus. The library is named for principal donors Barbara and Fred Kreitzberg ’57. The original library was completed in 1993 at a cost of $8.1 million.

Computer and information technology has radically changed modern university libraries in the years since, transforming libraries from cathedrals of the book to cathedrals of learning.

The new renovations place Kreitzberg Library at the forefront of the latter category.

“Barbara and I have loved this library since its dedication in 1992,” Fred Kreitzberg ’57 said. “We know that students have enjoyed using this library and hope that with the new renovations it will be even better-suited for our technologically advanced students.”

While celebrating at the Sept. 1 event, the Norwich community will tour the library’s major enhancements, including new workstations, group-study and collaborative-learning areas, new technology-enabled classrooms and a café.

Additional improvements include two new conference rooms, and a 77% increase in the number of seats, from 249 to 440. The new library also boasts a 10-fold increase in data speeds and capacity and state of the art collaborative tools, thanks in part to a $125,000 grant from the George I. Alden Trust to support technology upgrades.

Construction began Dec. 17, 2014, with approximately 40 Vermonters working on site on an average day. At times that figure climbed to 60. The construction was primarily completed by Vermont firms employing Vermont workers, including EF Wall, Bates & Murray Electrical, Vermont Mechanical and Red Thread.

Demonstrating Norwich’s commitment to sustainability, the vast majority of installed lighting use LED bulbs, subsidized by Efficiency Vermont, with an estimated energy efficiency of 80%-90%. In addition, air handling units were upgraded, low volatile organic compounds (VOC) paint was used, and virtually all construction debris was recycled.

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Service” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
(802) 485-2886; (m) 595-3613
dlarkin@norwich.edu
Follow us on Twitter @NorwichNews

Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum & History Center presents, “Women of Norwich: Trailblazers and Torchbearers”

The Norwich University Sullivan Museum and History Center presents its latest exhibit “Women of Norwich: Trailblazers and Torchbearers,” with an opening reception to be held on Friday, Sept. 4, from 3-5 p.m.

The state’s only Smithsonian Affiliate, the Sullivan Museum and History Center is free and open to the public.

Women at Norwich have been an integral part of the success of the university. While many women during the early years of the Academy were “behind the scenes” their contributions were important, lasting, and helped shape the institution Norwich is today.

This exhibition features many facets of the women who were “first”– first ladies of the Norwich presidents, first women in the Corps of Cadets, and first women in fields where they have not traditionally been employed or deployed.

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The exhibit includes perspectives of notables such as Norwich founder Captain Alden Partridge’s wife, Anne Partridge; the first eight women to enter the Corps of Cadets; as well as today’s women of Norwich, both civilian and cadet. Notably, in 1974 Norwich was among the earliest of military academies to accept women into its Corps of Cadets.

The Sullivan Museum and History Center is located on the Northfield campus of Norwich University. It is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the academic year. There is no charge for admission to the museum. For more information call 802.485.2183 or visit the museum’s website or Facebook page.

Nancy Young ’76 pictured above. Photo courtesy of Nancy Young.

Norwich University bell concerts kick off July 4

Bring a picnic and a lawn chair to the Upper Parade Ground on the beautiful campus of Norwich University and enjoy free outdoor concerts performed on the Charlotte Nichols Greene Memorial Carillon.

Concerts will be held rain or shine on five consecutive Saturdays from July 4 to August 1, and all concerts begin at 1 p.m. Following each original, hour-long performance, guests are invited to tour the bell tower and view a demonstration of the instrument.

Programs feature a variety of classical, folk, traditional, and contemporary music arranged specifically for carillon.

The largest musical instrument in the world, the carillon is played with both hands and feet. Notes are played by striking levers stoutly wired to the clappers of a tower’s many bells. Norwich’s carillon, one of only two such instruments in the state of Vermont, comprises 47 bells, the largest of which weighs 3500 pounds.

2015 CARILLON CONCERT SCHEDULE

July 4: George Matthew Jr. (Middlebury College and Norwich University)

July 11: Gordon Slater (Canadian Dominion, carillonneur emeritus)

July 18: John Widmann (Municipal Carillonneur, Frederick, Md.)

July 25: Sergei Gratchev (Belgian Carillon School)

August 1: Elena Sadina (Belgian Carillon School)

Fun facts about carillons:

  • The art of bell-tuning was perfected in northern Belgium in the 15th Norwich’s bells were cast and tuned at foundries in Belgium and France.
  • Every carillon has a name. Norwich’s is called the Charlotte Nichols Greene Memorial Carillon.
  • To be considered a “true” carillon, the instrument must have at least 23 bells. Norwich’s original carillon had 36 bells, and in 1959 it was expanded to 47.
  • The largest bell in a carillon plays the lowest note and is called the “bourdon.” Norwich’s bourdon is four feet in diameter and weighs 3,500 pounds.

For more information about the concert series, please contact George Matthew at gmatthew@middlebury.edu or 802-247-9873.

Norwich University names new vice president for enrollment management

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Norwich University has named Greg Matthews as the new vice president for enrollment management responsible for the admissions and financial aid operational units and working on branding and recruitment beginning June 1.

Matthews is a proven enrollment management and financial aid leader with 26 years of experience in higher education including Landmark College, Colby-Sawyer College and Ohio Wesleyan University.

As the new vice president, Matthews will develop a comprehensive strategy for recruitment and selection of a talented, diverse student population that values the exceptional environmental and educational experience Norwich University offers.

“Higher education is experiencing greater external pressures and scrutiny, as well as growing  competition  for  a  declining  population  of  high  school  students,  particularly  in  the northeast,” said President Richard W. Schneider.

“Matthews’ distinctive set of skills are well matched to provide the pivotal leadership needed to build on the current successes of Norwich University. It is critical  for  a leader  in higher education  to  be  collaborative,   innovative  and  to  possess  a  strong  understanding  of  market analysis,  enrollment  management,  financial  aid,  and  the ability  to  strategically  use  data  to maximize opportunities for Norwich. I am confident that Mr. Matthews is that leader.”

“Norwich University provides not only great academic programs, but delivers a distinctive student experience for both cadets and civilian students that prepares them for life and work after graduation,” Matthews said. “I feel fortunate that I have the opportunity to represent this remarkable institution.”

Gallery: Norwich University’s 2015 Commencement Celebration

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NORWICH UNIVERSITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

May 13, 2015

Norwich said goodbye to the graduating class of 2015 this weekend. But not before celebrating their many accomplishments. Related article >>

Norwich University’s New Residence Hall to be Named Dalrymple Hall

Norwich University Office of Communications

 
May 11, 2015

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich officials announced that they will name the university’s newly constructed, $23.2 million civilian student residence hall Dalrymple Hall in honor of current university trustee Peter Dalrymple ’65 and his wife Marlene ‘66, of Houston, Texas, in recognition of their lifetime of philanthropy to the university.

The modern, energy efficient residence located next to South Hall, opened in Fall 2014 as the second of a three-building plan to house civilian students on campus. With 182 bedrooms, Dalrymple Hall has capacity for 285 occupants.

Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), among other aspects, Dalrymple Hall uses strategies that reduce water usage by over 25 percent, and is heated by steam produced from Norwich’s biomass plant.

The Dalrymples gave the lead gift for a fund-raising challenge established by Norwich Trustee Emerita COL (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), and the Tawani Foundation, which committed $25 million in advance of the University’s $100 million Forging the Future 2019 Bicentennial campaign.

At the time, Peter Dalrymple said: “Marlene and I want to make sure that other young men and women have the same opportunity that we had to develop our strong values and moral compass. This country would be a much better place if all or our leaders in government and industry had Norwich training and values.”

The couple participated in the funding of the $5.7 million renovation of Sabine Field in 2013 from a grass playing field to a synthetic turf field and illuminated stadium and also provided a $1 million challenge for his class to celebrate their 50th reunion.

“The rewards of a Norwich education far exceed any gift we could give back to the university,” said Peter and Marlene Dalrymple. “We are humbled and honored to have this residence named Dalrymple Hall.”

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Service” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu.

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
(802) 485-2886; (m) 595-3613
dlarkin@norwich.edu
Follow us on Twitter @NorwichNews

Norwich to Host Filmmaker Ben Kalina for Climate Change Documentary Screening and Panel

Winner of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival award for best documentary, the director of “Shored Up” asks tough questions about our coastal communities and our relationship to the land
Norwich University Office of Communications

 
April 15, 2015

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University will host documentary filmmaker Ben Kalina and screen his 2014 Sundance Film Festival winning documentary on climate change and coastal communities, “Shored Up: When Human Nature and the Force of Nature Collide,” on Monday, April 20 at 7 p.m.

A panel discussion on community resiliency with Kalina, a Norwich engineering professor, and a state of Vermont employee involved in Tropical Storm Irene response among others will follow. Both events are free and open to the public and will be held in Cabot 85.

“Shored Up” asks tough questions about our coastal communities and our relationship to the land in the face of disappearing beaches and coastlines.

According to Variety, Kalina took inspiration from John McPhee’s book “The Control of Nature” and originally set out to make a film about the US Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts to replace sand along our eroding shorelines.

That was before Hurricane Sandy struck. Using footage from the devastating storm and its aftermath, Kalina constructed an intentionally understated but sturdy film.

Writing in Variety, Geoff Berkshire describes it as a “sobering examination of the threat rising sea levels pose to coastal cities and the economic factors that encourage doubters to keep their heads firmly buried in fast-disappearing sand.”

Joining Kalina on Monday’s panel are:

  • Kate White, PhD, of the US Army Corp of Engineers Climate Preparedness and Resilience Community of Practice, Institute for Water Resources
  • Tara Kulkarni, PhD, assistant professor of civil engineering, Norwich University
  • Ben Rose, recovery and mitigation section chief, Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Vermont Dept. of Public Safety
  • Michael Crowley, senior program officer for the US Program, Institute for Sustainable Communities

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Service” here: bicentennial.norwich.edu    

Media Contact: 
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
(802) 485-2886, (m) 595-3613
dlarkin@norwich.edu
Follow us on Twitter @NorwichNews

Norwich Writers Series to Host Iraq War Vet, Memoirist Kayla Williams

Norwich University Office of Communications

Updated April 13, 2015

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University Writers Series continues with Iraq War veteran and memoirist, Kayla Williams, author of “Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love & Recovery in the Aftermath of War” (2014) and “Love My Rifle More than You: Young & Female in the U.S. Army” (2006). Williams will read on Tuesday, April 21, at 4 p.m. in the Chaplin Hall Gallery.

Williams has appeared in numerous media interviews including this radio piece on PRI’s The World from February 2014, and including an appearance on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show during a segment dealing with claim backlog at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Williams enlisted in the U.S. Army as an interpreter in 2000. She served as a sergeant and Arabic linguist in a military intelligence company of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) for five years. During that time, she spent a year deployed in Iraq and Kuwait during the buildup to and ultimate invasion of Iraq in 2003. Williams served at the forefront of troops’ interaction with Iraqis while navigating the challenges of being part of the 15 percent female minority enlisted in the Army.

“Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army” is a memoir about Williams’ experiences negotiating the changing demands on today’s military. “Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War” details Williams’ marriage to Brian McGough, who was wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq. The book explores the effects of traumatic brain injury and PTSD.

Williams is a 2013 White House Woman Veteran Champion of Change, Truman National Security Project Fellow, and member of the Army Education Advisory Committee, and a former member of the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans. She currently lives near Washington, D.C., with her husband.

The Norwich Writers Series event is presented by the university’s Center for Peace and War, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Department of English & Communications. All events in this series are free and open to the public. Williams’ memoir will be on sale at the event. A book signing will follow the reading.

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About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

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