#91 Colby Military Writers Symposium

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Norwich Firsts

The William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium was created as an opportunity to expose students, faculty, alumni, and the public to the works and views of nationally-known authors, historians, and journalists. It aspires to educate, enlighten, and inspire. In 1996, President Emeritus Russell Todd ’50, then-staff member Ed Tracy, and alumnus and author Carlo D’Este ’59 conceived of an event …





#89 Baseball, Norwich’s Oldest Sport

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Norwich Firsts

Though pickup games may have been played earlier, Norwich University formally fielded its first baseball team in either 1871 or 1872, depending who’s telling the story. A group of cadets got the idea to challenge the Dartmouth College boys to what was already known as the “national game” or the “national pastime.” Baseball as we know it today was first …





#88 Norwich’s Engineering Legacy

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Norwich Firsts

Alden Partridge commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers in 1807, just five years after the Corps was established by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802. The Corps was to be stationed at West Point, and was an integral part of the military academy there. Thus, West Point became the first engineering school in the country—but not …





#74 Longtime Groundskeeper Told the Story of Norwich in Pictures

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Norwich Firsts

George Lansell worked for Norwich University as a custodian and grounds keeper from 1925 until he retired in the mid-1960s, the longest-serving employee at the time. He was born in Tunbridge Wells, England, in 1886, and came to Vermont with his new bride, Edith, in 1910. In 1925, he and his family moved to Northfield with the promise of employment …





#72 Theta Chi Started a National Movement in the Old South Barracks

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Norwich Firsts

Theta Chi fraternity was founded at Norwich in 1856, the university’s first Greek letter fraternity and one that is still nationally active today with over 6,500 undergraduate members. Cadets Arthur Chase and Frederick Freeman founded Theta Chi in the South Barracks of our original Norwich, Vermont campus. One of their first members was Edward Williston, who would receive the Medal …





#71 Norwich Pioneered Modern Nursing Training in Vermont

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Norwich Firsts

By the 1950s, a nursing crisis had emerged in Vermont. The evolving role of nurses in the medical profession had put increasing demands on their time, and Vermont’s expanding hospitals also meant more beds. There simply weren’t enough trained nurses to go around. To make matters worse, the options for nursing education in Vermont had dwindled. Before World War II, …





#55 Jane Bonnette, First Woman to Wear the Norwich Uniform

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Norwich Firsts

Jane Bonnette was Norwich University’s first female faculty member, and the first woman ever to don a Norwich uniform. Bonnette was born and raised in Louisiana and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Louisiana State University. She worked for a time at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a major federal research facility that grew out of the Manhattan …





#47 Peace Corps Preparatory Program Pioneered a New Concept of National Service

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Norwich Firsts

In the summer of 1986, Carol Todd returned to Norwich from a volunteerism conference with an idea for her husband, Norwich President Russell Todd. She had just heard Loret Miller Ruppe, the director of the Peace Corps, present the idea of an ROTC-like training program to recruit new volunteers for the Peace Corps. The timing was serendipitous. President Todd had …





#9 Alcoholics Anonymous Founder “Bill W.”

Bicentennial Admin 200 Things about Norwich, Norwich Firsts

William Griffith Wilson was one of the most influential people of the 20th Century. Known to millions as “Bill W.,” Wilson attended Norwich from 1914 to 1917 and was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Since its inception in 1935, Wilson’s 12-step program to recovery has helped countless people achieve sobriety and overcome addiction. Now celebrating its 80th year, Alcoholics Anonymous …