#110 – Major General Seth Williams, Class of 1903, Helped Shape the Modern Marine Corps

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Leaders & Legacy

By Gary Appleby ‘90 On April 1, 1917, only five days before formally entering the war, the Commandant of the Marine Corps appointed a three-man board to “recommend a site in the Washington area for a temporary training camp and maneuver field for the Marine Corps.” America was preparing to enter the war and needed freshly trained Marines, a place …





#107 Brigadier General Charles Coolidge, Class of 1863, Served in Five Major Conflicts

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Leaders & Legacy

Brigadier General Charles Coolidge was a native of Boston, Massachusetts and a descendent of Revolutionary War patriots. He attended Norwich University from 1859 to 1861 before enlisting in the 16th U.S. Infantry as a humble private. This would be the first of five major conflicts in which Coolidge would serve his country: the Civil War, the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American …





#105 Edward Hale Brooks, Class of 1916, Led the “Hell On Wheels” Division on Omaha Beach

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Leaders & Legacy

Edward Hale Brooks was one of three Norwich men to command the 2nd Armored Division during World War II. He led the so-called “Hell On Wheels” division into action at Omaha Beach and received numerous military decorations including the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Distinguished Service Medal. Brooks was a native of Concord, New Hampshire. He graduated from Norwich in …





#102 Aviation Pioneer Porter Adams Brought His Vision to Norwich

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Leaders & Legacy

Porter Hartwell Adams was born in Quincy, Mass. He was rumored to be descended from U.S. Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. He was one of the first students to study aeronautical engineering at M.I.T., where as a laboratory assistant he helped build the first wind tunnel at an educational institution. After graduating from M.I.T., Adams and a classmate, …





#97 Mike Thomas Brown, From Rehabilitation to World Champion

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Leaders & Legacy

It’s called mixed martial arts, although people unfamiliar with one of the world’s fastest-growing sports might view it as mayhem. It’s a fast, intense combat sport, and many call it brutal. Mike Brown is one if its stars, winning the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) featherweight title in November 2008 in a first-round knockout over defending champion Urijah Faber. A native …





#96 Colonel Frank Tompkins Led Norwich’s Cavalry Charge

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Leaders & Legacy

Frank Tompkins was born in Washington, D.C., the son of a Civil War general who commanded the 1st Vermont Cavalry. His 32 years of service with the U.S. Army included stations in Cuba, the Philippines, Mexico and France. He became well-known for his pursuit of Mexican revolutionary Francisco “Pancho” Villa during the Mexican Revolution. Tompkins’ men helped beat back Villa’s …





#90 Rev. John Thomas Was a University President During Two World Wars

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Leaders & Legacy

The Rev. John Thomas was born in Fort Covington, N.Y., graduating from Middlebury College in 1890 and from Union Theological Seminary in 1893. He spent 15 years as a Presbyterian minister in New Jersey before becoming president of Middlebury in 1908. He served in that capacity for 13 years, leading the college through World War I. After the armistice, he …





#86 Major General Briard P. Johnson

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Leaders & Legacy

Major General Briard Poland Johnson graduated from Norwich University in 1927, when cavalry training was at the heart of a Norwich education. He commissioned into the U.S. Cavalry Reserve after graduation, and served as a reserve officer for six years while working as a civil engineer. He began active duty in 1933. During World War II, he served in the …





#83 Deborah Ann Light Transformed Her Community

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Leaders & Legacy

Light was born in London in 1935 and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1961. She married three times and eventually settled on a 30-acre farm known as Quail Hill in Amagansett, New York. Her 1985 master’s degree from Vermont College was in religious studies, and she practiced as a …