American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy

Norwich University

Norwich University
Motto I Will Try
Established 1819
Type Private Military College
Endowment $175,806,000
President Dr. Richard W. Schneider, RADM USCGR (Ret.)
Academic staff 112
Undergraduates 2,000+
Postgraduates 1,000
Location Northfield, Vermont, USA
Campus Rural,
1200 acres (486 hectares)
Colors Maroon & Gold
Athletics NCAA Division III
Great Northeast Athletic Conference
18 sports teams
Mascot Cadets
Website www.Norwich.edu

Norwich University (NU) is a private university located in Northfield, Vermont (USA). The university was founded in 1819 at Norwich, Vermont, as the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy. It is the oldest of six Senior Military Colleges, and is recognized by the United States Department of Defense as the "Birthplace of ROTC" (Reserve Officers' Training Corps). Norwich University's population is largely a Corps of Cadets but also includes traditional students.


Partridge and his academy

The university was founded in 1819 at Norwich by military educator and former superintendent of West Point, Captain Alden B. Partridge. Captain Partridge believed in the "American System of Education," a traditional liberal arts curriculum with instruction in civil engineering and military science. After leaving West Point because of congressional disapproval of his system, he returned to his native state of Vermont to create the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy. Captain Partridge, in founding his academy, rebelled against the reforms of Sylvanus Thayer to prevent the rise of what he saw as the greatest threat to the security of the young republic: a professional officer class. He believed that a well-trained militia was an urgent necessity and developed the American system around that idea. His academy became the inspiration for a number of military colleges throughout the nation, including both the Virginia Military Institute and The Citadel, and later the land grant colleges created through the Morrill Act of 1862.

Partridge's educational beliefs were considered radical at the time, and this led to his conflicting views with the federal government while he was the superintendent of West Point. Upon creation of his own school, he immediately incorporated classes of agriculture and modern languages in addition to the sciences, liberal arts, and various military subjects. Field exercises, for which Partridge borrowed cannon and muskets from the federal and state governments, supplemented classroom instruction and added an element of realism to the college’s program of well-rounded military education.

Partridge founded six other military institutions during his quest to reform the fledgling United States military. They were the Virginia Literary, Scientific and Military Academy at Portsmouth, Virginia (1839–1846), Pennsylvania Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy at Bristol, Pennsylvania (1842–1845), Pennsylvania Military Institute at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (1845–1848), Wilmington Literary, Scientific and Military Academy at Wilmington, Delaware (1846–1848), the Scientific and Military Collegiate Institute at Reading, Pennsylvania (1850–1854), Gymnasium and Military Institute at Pembroke, New Hampshire (1850–1853) and the National Scientific and Military Academy at Brandywine Springs, Delaware (1853).

Fire and hardship: Norwich in the 19th century

In 1825 the academy moved to Middletown, Connecticut, to provide better naval training to the school's growing corps of cadets. In 1829, the state of Connecticut declined to grant Captain Partridge a charter and he moved the school back to Norwich (the Middletown campus became Wesleyan University in 1831). Beginning in 1826, the college offered the first program of courses in civil engineering in the US. In 1834 Vermont granted a charter and recognized the institution as Norwich University. During the 1856 academic year, the first chapter of the Theta Chi Fraternity was founded by cadets Frederick Norton Freeman and Arthur Chase. With the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, Norwich cadets served as instructors of the state militias throughout the Northeast and the entire class of 1862 enlisted upon its graduation. Norwich turned out hundreds of officers and soldiers who served with the federal armies in the American Civil War, including four recipients of the Medal of Honor. One graduate led a corps, seven more headed divisions, 21 commanded brigades, 38 led regiments, and various alumni served in 131 different regimental organizations. In addition, these men were eyewitnesses to some of the war's most dramatic events, including the bloodiest day of the conflict at Antietam, the attack up Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg, and the repulse of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. Seven hundred and fifty Norwich men served in the Civil War, of whom sixty fought for the Confederacy. Because of the university's participation in the struggle, the number of students dwindled to seven in the class of 1864 alone.

The Confederate raid on St. Albans, Vermont precipitated fear that Newport, Vermont was an imminent target. The corps quickly bordered an express train for Newport, the same day, October 19, 1864, to the great relief of the inhabitants.

After a catastrophic fire in 1866 which devastated the entire campus, the town of Northfield welcomed the struggling school. The Civil War, the fire, and the uncertainty regarding the continuation of the University seriously lowered the attendance, and the school opened in the fall of 1866 with only 19 students. The 1870s and 1880s saw many financially turbulent times for the institution and the renaming of the school to Lewis College in 1880. In 1881 the student body was reduced to only a dozen men. Later, by 1884, the Vermont Legislature had the name of the school changed back to Norwich. In 1898 the university was designated as the Military College of the State of Vermont.

War and expansion: Norwich in the 20th century

As part of the Vermont National Guard, the school's Corps of Cadets was mobilized as a squadron of cavalry in the First Vermont Regiment to assist in General John J. Pershing's Mexican Expedition. This greatly disrupted the academic year and in 1916 the War Department designated Norwich as the first site for a Senior ROTC cavalry unit; also in 1916, the first African-American, Harold "Doc" Martin (NU 1920), matriculated. Classes graduated early for both the First and Second World Wars and many Norwich-made officers saw service in all theaters of both conflicts. Professional education offered at Norwich also changed and adapted with the advance of technology. Military flight training began in 1939 and from 1946 to 1947, horse cavalry was completely phased out in favor of armored cavalry.

Graduates returning from European and Pacific fields of battle found a university very different from the one they had left behind. From the late 1940s to the 1960s, Norwich was greatly expanded and added a number of new opportunities. In 1947, the Army Department created a new program uniquely suited to Vermont's harsh climate: a mountain and cold weather warfare unit. Air Force and Navy ROTC programs were established in 1972 and 1984 respectively. During the 1974 school year, the university admitted women into the Corps of Cadets, two years before the federal service academies. Although unpopular at the time, Norwich University began a social trend that would move the country closer in gender equality. The 1972 merger and 1993 integration with Vermont College added two groups to "the Hill," women and civilian students. Norwich later sold its Vermont College campus and non-traditional degree programs to the Union Institute and University in 2001. Vermont College's arts programs were spun off as the once again independent Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2008.


In the nineteenth century, hazing of undergraduates by upper classmen was normal in all military schools and many non-military ones as well. Hazing diminished in the early 20th century. By the late 20th century, it became not only counter to university rules but illegal as well. Nevertheless, there have been several instances of hazing in 1990, 1995.

The Bicentennial: Norwich in the 21st century

Norwich has a position as a center of learning for civil service with online graduate programs, the 5-year Master of Architecture program and since 2001 a National Security Agency-sponsored Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.

NU 2019

The NU2019 plan was launched in 2005 with the school's bicentennial as a focus. Under the guidance of the Alumni Association, the Board of Trustees and the Office of the President, the university has budgeted millions of dollars to change the campus.

Proposed additions include:


Academic buildings

Ainsworth Hall

In 1910 Ainsworth Hall was constructed for the United States Weather Bureau as its central Vermont station. Later returned to the university in 1948, it served as the Administrative Headquarters of the campus. By 1955, growth of the University forced the relocation of the Administration back up the hill to Dewey Hall. When also in 1955 construction began on Webb Hall to the immediate west of the building, the infirmary moved into the now empty structure. Due to expansion of the university in the 1960s and 1970s the building was converted into the home of the Division of Social Sciences. The building is named for Mrs. Laura Ainsworth, widow of Captain James E. Ainsworth (NU 1853), who in 1915 worked to bring an infirmary to campus.

Chaplin Hall

Chaplin Hall, originally Carnegie Hall, was built in 1907. The School of Architecture & Art is located there. Paid for by Andrew Carnegie, the building served as the university's library until 1993 with the construction of Kreitzberg Library. When the library was renovated in 1952, from the contributions of trustee Henry P. Chaplin, it was rededicated as the Henry Prescott Chaplin Memorial Library. Until 1941 and the addition of Partridge Hall to the growing campus, Chaplin Hall also provided the classrooms and offices for the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Communications Building

This building, on the site of the first building in Center Northfield, contains the offices and classrooms of the Communications Department. The offices for the Guidon and the studios for both the university's radio station WNUB-FM are also located in this building. The building was purchased by the university in 1973 and restored in 1988.

Dewey Hall

Named for Admiral of the Navy George Dewey (NU 1852-1854), and completed in 1902, Dewey Hall is one of the oldest buildings in the Northfield campus. It was originally two stories high with the lower floor occupied by offices of the university's administration, the library and museum. Office space for trustees and faculty, a chapel with a seating of five hundred and the United States Weather Bureau were located on the second floor. With the departure of the Weather Bureau in 1909 and the completion of the then new Carnegie Library in 1907 the Hall was primarily used by the Military Department. In October 1925 a fire gutted the building which led to its reconstruction as a three story structure. Dewey Hall currently houses the Division of Business & Management and a computer lab.

Hollis House

Hollis House is today the location of a number of classrooms and offices of the Division of Humanities. Built in 1852, the building was until 1909 the house of a number of prominent residents of Northfield. When sold that year to the university, it became part of the US Weather Bureau's station collocated on campus. The building was later named for David B. "Dixie" Hollis (NU 1922) who upon his death in 1993 gave what was then the largest donation in the university's history: $7 million.

Engineering, Math and Science Complex

The Engineering, Math and Science Complex houses the David Crawford School of Engineering as well as the departments of Geology, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Mathematics and Sports Medicine. Currently under construction is an addition of Nursing in the bottom floor of the building. The complex is composed of six buildings: Juckett, Partridge and Tompkins Halls; the Science Building, Bartolleto Hall and the Cabot Annex. The complex was completed in 1997 and replaced a previous set of 1940s- and 1950s-era facilities. The Engineering, Math and Science Complex also contains the university's Computer Services office and the majority of the campus' independent computer labs.

Kreitzberg Library

Webb Hall

Webb Hall was completed in 1960 and originally housed the English, Modern Languages, Social Sciences, Business Administration and the Psychology and Education departments. Currently, the Division of Humanities, Nursing Department and Education program are located in this building. Twenty one classrooms, three seminar rooms and a computer lab are available.

Dole Auditorium, which can seat over four hundred people, is also located in Webb Hall. The building is named after J. Watson Webb, a Norwich trustee and world class polo player. The auditorium honors Charles Dole (NU 1869), who served in his career at the university as an instructor in Mathematics and Latin, a professor of history and rhetoric, the commandant of cadets and acting president of the university from 1895 to 1896.

Residence halls and cadet barracks

Athletic buildings

Andrews Hall

Kreitzberg Arena

Kreitzberg Arena, also named in for the Kreitzberg family, is the home of Norwich Hockey. Construction on this multi-purpose arena was completed in the spring of 1998. The 59,000 sq ft (5,500 m). arena has a 200 x 90 ice surface and seating for 1400, with a maximum capacity of 5,000 for special events. The arena hosts the ECAC East Hockey Regional Finals. The arena is a host to the Elite Hockey Camp in the summer.

Plumley Armory

The armory, built in 1928, is named to honor a notable 1896 graduate of the university, Charles A. Plumley. Plumley served as the president of the university from 1930 to 1934 when he was elected to Congress as Vermont's sole representative from 1934 to 1951. The main floor of the building provides seating space for 4,000 in an area as large as three basketball courts. There is an elevated running track as well as locker rooms, training rooms, and Navy ROTC offices in the basement. Connected to the armory is Goodyear Pool. Built in 1962, the pool is a 25 x 14 yard 5 lane facility that is open to all university members.

Sabine Field

Dedicated in 1921, Sabine Field is home to the university football and track teams.

Shapiro Field House

Shapiro Field House, built in 1987 and named for trustee Jacob Shapiro (NU 1936), houses a multipurpose arena that has a 200-meter indoor running track, four tennis courts, and a climbing wall. It is also used for morning PT (Physical Training), athletic practices, Commencement, concerts and other university functions.

Other buildings

The Harmon Memorial The Harmon Memorial is a tribute to Major General Ernest Harmon, who attended Norwich University from 1912 to 1913 and was later president from 1950 to 1968. Recorded on the memorial, by year of death, are the names of alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Norwich University that have made a "significant contribution" to the university.

Harmon Hall & Wise Campus Center

Harmon Hall opened in 1955 and later enlarged in 1958. Since then, it has served as the focal point for student life and activities. The campus mess hall, bookstore, post office, and The Mill (a snack bar open to upperclassmen and civilian freshmen) are located on the lower two floors. The Foreign Student Office, Student Activities, Yearbook Office, Music Program offices, a game room, and a lounge were located on the top floor. This floor originally housed the departments of English, History, and Modern Languages until they were moved to Webb Hall in 1960. Harmon Hall was renovated in 2007. The addition onto Harmon Hall is named the Wise Campus Center and houses new dining and food preparation facilities as well as a new book store, post office, Partridge's Pub and an outdoor skating rink.

Jackman Hall

White Chapel

Constructed by a gift from (NU 1914), a trustee, the chapel was completed in 1941. Originally designed as a multi-purpose building, then White Hall has served as a mess hall with a dining room, lunch room, kitchen, a college store and a recreational room. White Hall was converted to the university's first single-purpose chapel after Harmon Hall was opened in 1955. There are two bronze plaques on the walls that honor the Norwich war dead. Weekly services include Catholic Mass on Wednesday and Sunday, non-denominational service on Sunday, and Islamic prayer on Friday.

Sullivan Museum and History Center

One of the newest buildings on the campus, the Sullivan Museum was opened January 22, 2007. The building is named after General Gordon R. Sullivan (ret.), Norwich class of 1959 and former U.S. Army Chief of Staff. The Sullivan Museum houses state of the art conservation, storage, and display facilities for the wide variety of Norwich University artifacts and memorabilia. Items currently displayed cover a wide spectrum of Norwich history, including uniforms worn by Alden Partridge and Alonzo Jackman to pieces from more recent history.


The Cadets compete at the NCAA Division III level and are affiliated in one of four conferences, mainly the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. There are 11 varsity sports and one club sport for men at Norwich University. The Cadets participate in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, rugby, soccer, lacrosse, and more. In recent years, Norwich men's teams have been regularly found in the national rankings, won conference titles, and won three national championships in ice hockey. Norwich won ECAC East hockey championships in the regular season every year from 1998–2007, and won the 2010 NCAA Division III tournament, defeating St. Norbert College 2-1 in double overtime.

Two women's sports, lacrosse and volleyball, were approved in 2010 for varsity status and will compete as such in coming years. Women's varsity teams compete at the NCAA Division III level and are members of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. Some of the sports the women compete in are basketball, ice hockey, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, softball, and swimming and diving. Women's ice hockey skated their way to their first Frozen Four bid in 2010 losing to Amherst College in the NCAA Championship Game. Women's rugby traveled to the Final Four of the USA Rugby Championship and the Women's lacrosse program won the GNAC Conference to earn an automatic bid to their first NCAA Tournament.

The men's basketball team returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2006 after winning the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) post-season title. Head Coach Paul Booth garnered GNAC Coach of the Year honors for a second straight season, while point guard Geoff Hensley was named to the All-GNAC 1st Team and forward Rene Cheatham made the All-GNAC 2nd Team.

The school won the GNAC men's and women's soccer championships in 2008. The rifle team won the national intercollegiate rifle championship in 1916 and 1920.

Students and organization

The university has approximately 2,000 undergraduate students, 112 full-time faculty (approximately 80% hold a doctorate), and a fluctuating number of adjunct professors. The student/faculty ratio is 14:1 and the male/female ratio is 10:1. The freshman retention rate is 80%. The student body comprises students from over 40 different states and 20 countries.

Norwich University has two very different on-campus resident programs: the Corps of Cadets and the traditional student body.


The Corps side is structured as a regiment commanded by a Cadet Colonel (C/COL)(Currently C/Col Joshua Tulloch) with five battalions each commanded by a Cadet Lieutenant Colonel (C/LTC). 1st, 2nd, and Provisional Battalions are composed of Companies of upperclassmen commanded by a Cadet Captain with two platoons per Company. 3rd and 4th Battalion are the freshman training battalions and are composed of 3 Companies of 3 platoons each.

This structure was put in place for the 2009-2010 school year, replacing the more traditional original company system. Prior to the 2009-2010 school year companies consisted of one upperclassmen platoon and one freshmen platoon. Each platoon consisted of three squads each led by a cadet Staff Sergeant. Interaction between the upper-class cadets and freshmen cadets was common, leading to original companies. An Original Company is the company that a cadet belongs to as a freshmen. Upper-class cadets who were of an original company their freshman year would guide and mentor the incoming freshman cadets who were in that company. With in the original companies was an unofficial rank structure, which ensured which handled disputes within the companies, as well as enforcing each companies' values. These shadow chains of command ran afoul with the administration of the school, in part leading to the demise of the original company system. The companies in the original company system included, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Kilo, Band, Drill Company, and Cavalry Troop. The companies Alpha through Kilo were known as line companies, and were part of Battalions 1,2 and 3. Band, Drill Company and Calvary Troop were called provisional companies and placed in Provisional Battalion.

1st Battalion2nd Battalion3rd Battalion4th BattalionProvisional Battalion
AlphaDeltaCadet Training Company 10-1 (CTC 1)Cadet Training Company 10-4 (CTC 4)Regimental Band Company
BravoEchoCadet Training Company 10-2 (CTC 2)Cadet Training Company 10-5 (CTC 5)Drill
CharlieFoxtrotCadet Training Company 10-3 (CTC 3)Cadet Training Company 10-6 (CTC 6)Cavalry Troop

Norwich University Corps of Cadets rank insignia follows West Point with the use of chevrons to show all cadet ranks in lieu of chevrons, disks & lozenges. Ranks are as follows:


Special Units

The college has several ROTC units that are federally supervised. The Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (AROTC) detachment contains the Norwich University Rangers, and the Mountain Cold Weather Company. The Rangers are AROTC-specific while the Mountain Cold Weather Company is open to all Corps Cadets. The AFROTC detachment sponsors the Air Force Special Operations Unit. The NROTC detachment sponsors a chapter of the Semper Fidelis Society.


The Resident Life Department oversees the civilian side. Floors in the dormitories are under the supervision of a Resident Advisor (RA). The residence halls are in turn supervised by Resident Coordinators (RC) who report to the Assistant Director (ADoRL) and the Director of Resident Life (DoRL). Norwich is unique in that students hold positions that at many other colleges and universities are reserved for professional staff.


The Norwich University School of Graduate and Continuing Studies oversees the university's graduate programs. By majority, the graduate programs are conducted on a distance learning platform. The university offers accredited and highly recognized programs in a range of fields. The School of Graduate Studies became The School of Graduate and Continuing Studies on June 1, 2010.

Notable alumni


138 graduates of Norwich University have served as general officers in the U.S. armed forces: 102 Army generals, 11 Air Force generals, 9 Marine Corps generals, and 16 Navy admirals. 26 graduates served as generals in foreign armies: 9 Royal Thai Army general, 1 Royal Thai Air Force general, and 16 Republic of China Army generals.

Among the notable military graduates and former students of Norwich are:



Engineering and architecture


Other notable alumni


External links

Coordinates: 44°08′20″N 72°39′36″W / 44.13889°N 72.66°W

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