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#106 The Cadet’s Creed Rings True for 90 Years

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, This Week in History

“I believe that the cardinal virtues of the individual are courage, honesty, temperance and wisdom; and that the true measure of success is service rendered—to God, to Country, and to Mankind.”

These words are intimately familiar to every man and woman who has claimed membership in the Norwich University Corps of Cadets for the last 90 years. The Norwich Cadet’s Creed, originally known as the Norwich Man’s Creed, was written by alumnus and faculty member Kemp Russell Blanchard Flint in 1927. It represented Flint’s own effort to distill and summarize the principles that lay at the heart of the Norwich experience.

The date that the creed was written has at times been a source of confusion. Many believe that it was written in 1903, because the byline is often cited as “K.R.B. Flint, 1903.” However, this simply refers to Flint’s Norwich class year. It has even been misprinted as 1908.

Even the staff of the NU Archives was uncertain as to the Creed’s origins until they came across a 1940 Guidon article giving this very helpful explanation:

During the summer of 1927, shortly after he had been elected the president of the General Alumni Association of the University, Prof. K.R.B. Flint wrote “A Norwich Man’s Creed.” It was after deep contemplation as to just what were the cardinal virtues of a Norwich cadet that Professor Flint composed this summary of principles while resting upon the shores of Lake Bomaseen situated in the western part of the state.

The Creed first appeared in print in the Guidon on September 16, 1927. That issue of the paper was devoted quite largely to the history of Norwich University and the advantages of its system of education, a subject of great interest for Flint.

The Cadet’s Creed has of course since become an integral part of the Norwich identity. Along with the Cadet Oath, it represents everything that a Norwich education stands for. The full text remains unchanged since 1927. The title was changed from “Norwich Man’s Creed” to “Cadet’s Creed” in 1980 to reflect the changing student body.

Flint himself led a fascinating and controversial life, having been involved in the eugenics movement in Vermont. Professor Kate Donley has been awarded the Caraganis Prize for Teaching with the University Archives for her proposed work on Flint and the Creed during the Fall 2017 semester. A small collection of Flint’s papers can be accessed in the Norwich University Archives.