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#67 President Loring Hart Oversaw Dramatic Change at Norwich

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Leaders & Legacy

67-photo-loring-hart-commencement_1973Dr. Loring Hart was president of Norwich during one of the most transformational times in our history—the merger between Norwich University and Vermont College, which led to the admission of female and civilian students for the first time. A decorated veteran of World War II, his service to Norwich perfectly represents the blend of military and civilian elements that makes this university so unique.

Hart was a native of Bath, Maine whose undergraduate studies at Bowdoin College were interrupted by his service in World War II. He served with Patton’s Third Army in Europe, earning the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and Bronze Star.

Following his service and the completion of his B.A. at Bowdoin, he embarked upon an academic career in English literature. He taught on Norwich’s English faculty from 1957 to 1968, completing his Ph.D. from Harvard University while teaching at Norwich in 1961. He was appointed dean of the university and vice president in 1968.

Serving as a top administrator under President Barksdale Hamlett, Hart played an instrumental role in the development first of a coordinated program with Vermont College and then a total merger. The merger was officially executed just months before Hart took office as president in 1972, and it was under his leadership that the university weathered this time of transition.

In the following years, President Hart granted the petitions of Vermont College women to reside on the Northfield campus and to be admitted to the Corps of Cadets. We can thank him for the legacy of coeducational civilian and military learning that has only enriched Norwich University over the past 44 years.

A large collection of Loring Hart’s personal papers and official university records is available in the Norwich University Archives.