A History of Firsts

We do great things at Norwich every day and have done so for nearly 200 years. Explore our Norwich University timeline and discover 73,000 days of innovation, growth and historic breakthroughs.

1819
Image of Captain Alden Partridge

The American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy, predecessor to Norwich University, founded by Captain Alden Partridge in Norwich, Vermont.

1820

Band organized, making Norwich University’s band the oldest collegiate band in the country.

1820
Image of students at an engineering summer camp.

Civil engineering taught, a first for a U.S. college.

1825

Academy moved to Middletown, Connecticut.

1829
Norwich campus circa 1860.

Academy moved back to Vermont after Connecticut state officials refused to grant a charter.

1834

Academy received a charter from the State of Vermont recognizing the institution as Norwich University.

1843

Norwich University mission statement is adopted.

1860

General Alumni Association formed and chartered.

1866
Image of Captain Alden Partridge

Fire destroys the Old South Barracks on the university’s campus in Norwich, Vermont, prompting a move to Northfield, Vermont, after a land grant is secured.

1868
Image of Jackman Hall circa 1880

The Old Barracks (renamed Jackman Hall nearly 40 years later) is erected, making it the first building on the Northfield campus.

1880

University name is changed to Lewis College by a Vermont Legislative act. Four years later, it is restored to Norwich University.

1887

First Commandant and Professor of Military Science and Tactics detailed by the War Department.

1898

Norwich designated “The Military College of the State of Vermont” by the Vermont Legislature.

1901
Image of Dewey Hall

Charles E. Wheatley named the first cadet major. Dewey Hall constructed as a memorial to Admiral George Dewey.

1907

Electrical Engineering Department is established.

1909
Image of Calvary circa 1938-1943

First mounted horse cavalry instruction to a class of 60 cadets.

1909
Image of Ainsworth Hall circa 1910

U.S. Weather Bureau constructed, renamed Ainsworth Infirmary in 1955.

1916

Reserve Office Training Corps established. Norwich designated a Senior Division Cavalry Unit.

1916
Image of Harold Martin

Harold “Doc” Martin entered Norwich, the first African American Cadet.

1919
Image of Centennial Stairs circa 1949

Centennial Celebration, stairs and gatepost erected.

1921

Sabine Field dedicated in memory of George K. Sabine Jr., son of the benefactor.

1923

Class ring tradition started.

1936
Image of Sepp Ruschp

Norwich University ski slope opens. Sepp Ruschp becomes a ski instructor at Norwich (and UVM) and one of the “first” to develop the sport of skiing in the US.

1937
Image of Norwich Drill Team

“Shock Platoon” established and later re-designated as Drill Company.

1943

1943-1946, university facilities devoted to Army Air Corps Air Crew Training, Army Specialized Training and Army Specialized Training Reserve Programs. There was no Corps of Cadets.

1946

Horse cavalry officially replaced by armored cavalry.

1947
Image of ROTC Mountain and Winter Warfare

ROTC Mountain and Winter Warfare training program established.

1950

Corps reorganized from a squadron to a regiment.

1951

Honor System adopted.

1954

South Gateway constructed.

1955
Image of Captain Alden Partridge

Alden Partridge statue unveiled.

1962
Image of Sabine Field gateway

Sabine Field Gateway constructed. Old stables converted into Cadet Service Center and Indoor Rifle Range.

1972

Vermont College purchased.

1972

Air Force ROTC established.

1974

First women enter the Corps of Cadets, two years before the Federal Service Academies.

1975
Image of Norwich Color Guard

NU Color Guard designated as the official color guard of the State of Vermont.

1975

Cadet Diane Halliday, the first female cadet to graduate, commissions in the U.S. Air Force.

1984

Navy and Marine Corps ROTC established.

1986
Image of Jacob Shapiro Field House

Jacob Shapiro Field House constructed.

1988

Norwich University Cemetery dedicated.

1992

Norwich ski area closed.

1993
Image of Kreitzberg Library

Kreitzberg Library constructed.

1993

Undergraduate programs at Vermont College moved to Northfield and populations consolidated.

1995
Image of Tracey Jones (now Tracey Poirier)

Cadet Tracey L. Jones, NU ’96, first Norwich student to be selected as Rhodes Scholar.

1997

Sarah S. Patchem first female to be promoted to cadet colonel.

1997
Student studying online

Norwich University launches its first fully online master’s degree program in diplomacy and military science, catering to Naval War College graduates.

1998
Image of Kreitzberg Arena

Kreitzberg Arena constructed on former site of Taylor Arena.

2001

Vermont College sold to Union Institute & University.

2001

Norwich University embraces the online learning movement with the launch of its MBA program, followed by ten master’s degree programs and eventually establishes the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies, the university’s online college. Today, the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies and its online delivery platform, Norwich University Online, extends the Norwich academic model to approximately 1,200 online master’s students-working adults and lifelong learners from around the world.

2002

Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI) and six subsidiary research institutes established to serve national preparedness and response.

2007
Image of Sullivan Museum

Sullivan Museum and History Center and Wise Campus Center constructed.

2008

Todd Lecture Series established in honor of Norwich University President Emeritus Maj. Gen. Russell Todd, USA (Ret.), bringing renowned figures such as Segway inventor Dean Kamen (2008), human genome pioneer Dr. Craig Venter (2013), New York Times journalist and author Thomas Friedman (2013), former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condolezza Rice (2014) and other political and thought leaders to campus.

2009
Image of Class of '59 Bridge

Class of ’59 Bridge constructed. Corps of Cadets reorganized to establish Cadet Training Companies (CTC).

2009
Strategic Studies & Defense Analysis logo

The College of Graduate and Continuing Studies launches its first fully online bachelor’s degree, the Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis-a degree-completion program specially designed to serve the US Special Operations Command, and NATO Special Operations Forces. It is now one of five bachelor’s degree-completion programs offered online serving nearly 500 actively enrolled students.

2011
Image of hurricane Irene cleanup

Norwich students called to assist after Tropical Storm Irene flooding after rainfall of up to 8.15” in Vermont.

2012

CJ Jaynes, MBA ’08, becomes the first female Norwich graduate to be promoted to the rank of one-star in any branch of the military.

2013
Image of hurricane Irene cleanup

Norwich University’s Delta T90 solar house design wins special jury prize at the national Solar Decathlon in Irvine, Calif.

2014
Image of West Hall

Dalrymple Hall constructed on Upper Disney Field.

2014

Ponemon Institute survey ranks Norwich University’s Computer Security and Information Assurance program one of the top two cybersecurity programs in the nation.

2014

NU’s Sullivan Museum and History Center is named a Smithsonian Affiliate on April 26, 2014, becoming the first museum in Vermont to receive the prestigious designation.

2015
Project Management student

The College of Graduate and Continuing Studies’ Master of Business Administration program, Project Management concentration receives accreditation from the Project Management Institute Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC), the leading professional association worldwide for the project management field.