Brig. Gen. Gary Keefe, USAFR ’86 to speak at Norwich University Veterans Day ceremony

Formal portrait of Gary Keefe, US Air Force Brigadier General

October 19, 2015

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University Corps of Cadets and broader community will pay tribute to all veterans on Tuesday, Nov. 10 with a special remembrance ceremony at 1 p.m. on the Upper Parade Ground.

Highlighting the ceremony will be guest speaker Brigadier General Gary W. Keefe ’86, chief of staff of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

Keefe graduated Norwich with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and commissioned in 1986. He completed his active duty service in 1992, at which time he joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard with the 104th Fighter Wing as an active guard/reservist. Keefe holds a Master of Science in Management from Lesley University and attended Air War College, National Defense University, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Keefe serves as chief of staff for the Massachusetts Air National Guard at the Massachusetts Joint Force Headquarters at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass. He is the principal advisor to senior leaders, helping oversee the administration, coordination, planning, development and execution of all Air National Guard and National Guard Joint Staff programs. He ensures that 8,200 soldiers and airmen of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are prepared for contingency operations in both federal and state emergencies.

Embodying the Norwich model of citizen soldier, Keefe also serves in a civilian occupation as the assistant adjutant general and executive officer for the Military Division of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A statutory state employee position, Keefe serves as the full-time liaison for the adjutant general, the Massachusetts Army National Guard land component commander, and the Massachusetts Air National Guard air component commander on all matters pertaining to the missions of the Massachusetts National Guard.

The Veterans Day tribute at Norwich will include nine minutes of cannon fire in the Roll of Wars and a firing of three rifle volleys.

An open reception will follow the outdoor ceremony in the foyer of Jackman Hall.

Members of the Norwich and Northfield communities, area veterans, the general public, and those currently serving in the Armed Forces of the United States are cordially invited to attend. The uniform for this special event is the Service Class A uniform. Please plan on cold weather and dress accordingly.

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).

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:    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
Office Tel: (802) 485-2886
Mobile: (802) 595-3613

Undergraduate Research: A History Sleuth’s Eureka Moment

Senior Abigail Seaberg was one of 28 Norwich University undergraduates awarded Summer Research Fellowships to explore diverse topics across the arts, sciences and professional fields. Developed by the university’s Office of Academic Research, the competitive, six- and ten-week fellowships are funded by university endowments dedicated to supporting student academic investigation.
Norwich University Office of Communications

September 10, 2015

For years, they sat in a box under a bed in New Jersey. But in 2014, the collection of 100-plus watercolors, sketches, and oil paintings by 19th century Norwich alum William Brenton Boggs was donated to the university’s Sullivan Museum and History Center.

Abigail Seaberg, a rising senior history major and undergraduate Summer Research Fellow, set out to learn more about the paintings and the artist behind them.

Boggs was an early Norwich cadet who joined the Rodgers-Ringgold Expedition of 1853-1856. The four-year U.S. naval expedition sailed from Hampton Roads, Va., around the Horn of Africa on a Star Trek-like mission to boldly explore new civilizations and natural wonders of the Pacific.

Visiting Polynesia, Australia, Japan, China, and beyond, Boggs painted much of what he saw to capture a visual record of the expedition. Little is known about the expedition today or Boggs, it’s official painter.

Urged on by her faculty advisor, Dana Professor of History Gary Lord, Seaberg endeavored to see what she could uncover during a 10-week summer research fellowship.

The Air Force veteran and budding historian combed related archives and collections at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; a “Raiders of the Ark” like Smithsonian warehouse in Virginia; and the Swem Library at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Va. But material on Boggs was scant.

Visiting her grandmother, who lived in Williamsburg, Seaberg pondered her next steps. It was there that her grandmother invited Seaberg to the Rockefeller Library at Colonial Williamsburg, suggesting she investigate its large collection of documents belonging to the Carter family.

A member of the prominent Virginia clan, Robert Randolph Carter, had sailed on the Rodgers-Ringgold Expedition. Seaberg doubted anything would come of it, but went anyway to humor her grandmother, who volunteers at the library.

Seaberg started with a collection of 20 letters Carter penned to his wife in minute script on tissue-thin paper. Scanning microfiche copies for a reference to Boggs, Seaberg froze on the very first page of the very first letter.

Near the bottom, Seaberg saw the name Boggs. “It’s not really so bad,” the letter read. “For we all manage to laugh, joke, quiz and argue and Boggs to pun very much as men do when at their ease.”

Seaberg says she then erupted in a series of exclamations and fist pumps worthy of a touchdown celebration. She hadn’t found Boggs. But she had found the next best thing: His best friend on the expedition, a prodigious letter writer to boot.

“Boggs pops up in every single letter from that point forward,” all 20 of them, Seaberg says. Through Carter’s correspondence, Seaberg pieces together a portrait of Boggs.

“All of a sudden the man has a personality,” she says. “He tells horrible jokes, and we have horrible jokes written down for the rest of the world to see for all time. He’s a great artist.”

“It’s a huge discovery because nobody has looked at these [letters] in God knows how long. They were photographed and put on microfilm and then forgotten.”

Seaberg has written a lengthy research paper on her findings and notes wryly that her scholarship owes a huge debt of thanks to her grandmother. “It’s just a huge thing and it was shear dumb luck. Because my grandmother made me go to this [archive]. And now I have to thank her in whatever … I do.”

Of Seaberg’s scholarship, history professor and faculty advisor Gary Lord says, “It could be a lifelong endeavor.”

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