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.
The American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy, predecessor to Norwich University, founded by Captain Alden Partridge in Norwich, Vermont.
Band organized, making Norwich University’s band the oldest collegiate band in the country.
Civil engineering taught, a first for a U.S. college.
Academy moved to Middletown, Connecticut.
Academy moved back to Vermont after Connecticut state officials refused to grant a charter.
Academy received a charter from the State of Vermont recognizing the institution as Norwich University.
Norwich University mission statement is adopted.
General Alumni Association formed and chartered.
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.
The Old Barracks (renamed Jackman Hall nearly 40 years later) is erected, making it the first building on the Northfield campus.
University name is changed to Lewis College by a Vermont Legislative act. Four years later, it is restored to Norwich University.
First Commandant and Professor of Military Science and Tactics detailed by the War Department.
Norwich designated “The Military College of the State of Vermont” by the Vermont Legislature.
Charles E. Wheatley named the first cadet major. Dewey Hall constructed as a memorial to Admiral George Dewey.
Electrical Engineering Department is established.
First mounted horse cavalry instruction to a class of 60 cadets.
U.S. Weather Bureau constructed, renamed Ainsworth Infirmary in 1955.
Reserve Office Training Corps established. Norwich designated a Senior Division Cavalry Unit.
Harold “Doc” Martin entered Norwich, the first African American Cadet.
Centennial Celebration, stairs and gatepost erected.
Sabine Field dedicated in memory of George K. Sabine Jr., son of the benefactor.
Class ring tradition started.
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.
“Shock Platoon” established and later re-designated as Drill Company.
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.
Horse cavalry officially replaced by armored cavalry.
ROTC Mountain and Winter Warfare training program established.
Corps reorganized from a squadron to a regiment.
Honor System adopted.
South Gateway constructed.
Alden Partridge statue unveiled.
Sabine Field Gateway constructed. Old stables converted into Cadet Service Center and Indoor Rifle Range.
Vermont College purchased.
Air Force ROTC established.
First women enter the Corps of Cadets, two years before the Federal Service Academies.
NU Color Guard designated as the official color guard of the State of Vermont.
Cadet Diane Halliday, the first female cadet to graduate, commissions in the U.S. Air Force.
Navy and Marine Corps ROTC established.
Jacob Shapiro Field House constructed.
Norwich University Cemetery dedicated.
Norwich ski area closed.
Kreitzberg Library constructed.
Undergraduate programs at Vermont College moved to Northfield and populations consolidated.
Cadet Tracey L. Jones, NU ’96, first Norwich student to be selected as Rhodes Scholar.
Sarah S. Patchem first female to be promoted to cadet colonel.
Norwich University launches its first fully online master’s degree program in diplomacy and military science, catering to Naval War College graduates.
Kreitzberg Arena constructed on former site of Taylor Arena.
Vermont College sold to Union Institute & University.
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.
Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI) and six subsidiary research institutes established to serve national preparedness and response.
Sullivan Museum and History Center and Wise Campus Center constructed.
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.
Class of ’59 Bridge constructed. Corps of Cadets reorganized to establish Cadet Training Companies (CTC).
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.
Norwich students called to assist after Tropical Storm Irene flooding after rainfall of up to 8.15” in Vermont.
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.
Norwich University’s Delta T90 solar house design wins special jury prize at the national Solar Decathlon in Irvine, Calif.
Dalrymple Hall constructed on Upper Disney Field.
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.
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.