Bicentennial Stairs Questions and Answers

  1. Why were the Bicentennial Stairs selected as a Bicentennial Project?
    • The Centennial Stairs were built to commemorate the first one hundred years of Norwich University and is an iconic landmark on the Norwich campus.
    • It was decided that a companion set of stairs should be built to commemorate the second hundred years of Norwich history.
  2. What do the Bicentennial Stairs stand for?
    • The Stairs do not stand for any individual name on its steps.
    • Rather, all of the names together represent the story and history of Norwich and the University’s many contributions to our nation from 1919 to today.
    • The names on the Stairs are Norwich heroes, dedicated leaders, firsts, distinguished alumni from military and civilian endeavors and others, all loyal to Norwich values.
  3. Where will the stairs be built on campus?
    • They will be built to connect the University’s Upper Parade Ground with the Sullivan Museum and History Center and the Kreitzberg Library.
  4. How was the Bicentennial Stairs Project organized and who participated?
    • Two committees were appointed.
    • The Bicentennial Stairs Steering Committee
      • President Richard Schneider
      • General Gordon Sullivan ’59, Honorary Chair, Bicentennial Commemoration
      • Douglas McCracken ’70, Chair, Bicentennial Commemoration
    • The Bicentennial Stairs Committee
      • Michael Popowski, Chair
      • Alan Cook ’63, Clarke Haywood ’12, Henry Lutz ’93, Tony Maida ’77, Lenore Schmidt ’93, Todd Smith ’92, Amber Countis, Sr. Director of Research & Advancement Services, members
      • David Whaley ’76, VP Development and Alumni Relations, and Lauren Frank, Director of Bicentennial Events, non-voting members.
  5. What was the role of the Steering Committee?
    • Oversee the development of the Stairs and the name selection and recommendations.
    • Review the recommendations of the Stairs Committee and provide any feedback.
    • Accept the final report of the Stairs Committee.
    • Focus on the recommendations in total rather than any individual candidate.
  6. What was the role of the Stairs Committee?
    • Develop and implement an open, confidential and fair selection process.
    • Solicit input from many sources on candidates for the Stairs and complete independent research into potential candidates.
    • Evaluate, discuss and develop consensus among the Committee as to who would be recommended for the Stairs.
    • Prepare a final report that will be available to the Norwich Community.
  7. What issues arose during the selection process?
    • Two issues arose and were resolved:
      • Should only alumni or both alumni and non-alumni be considered for inclusion on the Stairs? The recommendation that both groups be considered was accepted by the Steering Committee.
      • The question about how to recognize faculty and staff. The recommendation to develop a separate and distinct memorial to honor faculty and staff was accepted. Plans for the faculty and staff tribute are underway.
  8. What was the process used to select the names for the Stairs?
    • The selection criteria for Stairs candidates was centered around Norwich’s mission statement: “To make moral, patriotic, efficient and useful citizens” with service to Norwich, their community and their country.
    • Hundreds of individuals were considered and assessed according to these criteria to develop the final list.
  9. How did the Stairs Committee conduct its analysis and selection?
    • Committee members were each assigned to a specific decade to research potential candidates. Independent research was conducted by the University archives and research staffs.
    • All names, plus those submitted by outside sources, were put on a matrix which included activities related to volunteer service, support of the University, military/professional accomplishments, Norwich firsts, etc.
    • Of the several hundred names initially considered, each one was reviewed and evaluated. Seventy-eight names were eventually adopted, by consensus, by the committee.
  10. Were many potential worthy candidates not included in the final list?
    • Yes, Norwich is blessed to have many very successful and loyal alumni and friends over the past one hundred years.
    • It was very difficult for the Stairs Committee to narrow down the list to 78 individuals.
  11. Why were some Norwich classes not included on the Stairs?
    • The focus of the selection was on people (alumni and friends), not Norwich classes.
    • The listing by class of alumni is an outcome of the process, not part of the selection criteria.
  12. Where can I find more information on the Stairs selection process?
    • The Stairs Committee report on its process and recommendations is available to the Norwich community here.
    • Deliberations about any candidate who was considered will be kept confidential and not disclosed in any manner.