Gary Leavenworth, NU 2010, is a four-generation Norwich family legacy. His mother, Patricia Leavenworth, graduated with a bachelor of science in civil engineering (BSCE) in 1987. She was following in the footsteps of her father, Ralph R. Romano Jr., who earned his BSCE from NU in 1956, and her uncle Peter Romano, BSCE 1960. Ralph and Peter had followed in the footsteps of their father, Ralph Romano Sr., who earned his BSCE from Norwich in 1930. The eldest Romano is deceased, but the other three generations came together on Sabine Field on a sunny afternoon in fall 2009 to celebrate the legacy started by Gary’s great-grandfather, and to witness Gary receiving his Norwich legacy pin. “It was really terrific for the whole family,” Patty Leavenworth said.
Gary’s mom did not initially attend Norwich, instead spending her first year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. Admittedly her father would have liked her to go to Norwich, but at that time female students were new and few on the Hill, and he was concerned that it might not be the best fit. After her first year in Florida, however, Patty mentioned transferring. “He used reverse psychology on me. He warned that I couldn’t handle the military life and would be calling in a month to come home,” she said. “He knew what he was doing.” She endured rookdom as a sophomore, and the experience taught her a lot about perserverance. She appreciated and enjoyed her time at Norwich as one of only a handful of women enrolled in engineering.
When Patty’s son Gary was beginning the college search process, he was further introduced to Norwich by way of Future Leader Camp. He liked it, but seemed inclined to go elsewhere. Yet when it came time to actually apply, “he turned around one-eighty, and Norwich was where he wanted to go.” The draw may have been Norwich’s world-renowned program in Computer Security and Information Assurance, Gary’s chosen major. In this regard Gary broke with family tradition—his mother, grandfather, great-uncle, and great-grandfather all worked for the Massachusetts Highway Department (now the Highway Division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation).
While Patty was proud to see her son graduate, she was also pleased to see that the traits she had acquired as a Norwich cadet had adhered to him as well. “He buttons his coat properly when he goes out,” she explained. “He takes care of his appearance and he has a great sense of responsibility to himself and his family.”
It is those uncommon but enduring character traits—presentation, precision, organization, order, and discipline—which Norwich instills in each succeeding generation of cadets, that distinguish the Norwich experience from that of so many other small, private liberal arts institutions. And is perhaps the very reason why those succeeding generations keep coming back.