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Alumni in the News

At Norwich, you developed leadership traits — discipline, integrity, confidence, loyalty, and honor — for you to excel in any profession.

Read below, and follow the external news source links, for stories of Norwich alumni demonstrating leadership and WickGrit in their work or service lives.


Alumni Spotlight

Michelle Leblanc '92Michelle LeBlanc '92

Michelle directs Vermont Paws and Boots, a nonprofit organization that matches veterans and first responders with service dogs, and trains the new human-canine duos to work together. It recently relocated to Bennington, VT from a location further north in the state, in part to be more accessible for those in all of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

“The unique part about Vermont Paws and Boots is I assist not only veterans but first responders. Whether it’s firefighters, EMTs, police officers, ER nurses, ambulance drivers, anything that deals with the public in a trauma situation on a daily basis, I’ll assist,” explained Michelle in a WCAX.com news interview.

She began the program in 2015, running it part-time until retiring from the Vermont State Police in 2019. She says Vermont had no service dog training programs at that time.

See more in the Bennington, VT Banner.  |  See article and video on WCAX.com.


read past alumni news


Kevin LeBlanc '97
April 20, 2021
New Hampshire State Police TFC Kevin LeBlanc received two awards from the FBI. Both awards recognize LeBlanc’s contributions on national case investigations. See Facebook post.


Michael Harrington '85Michael Harrington '85
April 13, 2021
Michael was named Risk Manager of the Year by the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) for his work at Lockheed Martin.
See article in Risk Management magazine (opens PDF), or see announcement on the RIMS—the risk management society site.


Julie Scribner ‘15, M‘19 Capt. Julie Scribner '15, M'19
March 30, 2021
Vermont Public Radio spoke with Capt. Julie Scribner, co-director of fair and impartial policing and community affairs for the Vermont State Police, about the State Police's pledge to hire, and retain, more women.
See the full article, and link to the audio interview. Also see a New England Cable News report and video.


Andy Biechlin '97
March 24, 2021
With spouse Marcy Eisenberg, Andy is looking to bring drone testing to Northern Virginia this fall. Their new venture, Xelevate Solutions Training Center, will provide facilities for testing and collaboration within the drone industry.
See the full article here (links to news site)


Lt Col Jake Sotiriadis '03Lt Col Jake Sotiriadis '03
March 18, 2021
Jake was honored as HAF A5/7's Field Grade Officer of the Year for 2020. He also presented recently about "US Foreign Policy and the Future of Intractable Conflicts" at the March 18th Horasis Extraordinary Meeting on the United States of America. 
More about Jake available here. 


 

Wale Akinde ‘03Wale Akinde '03
March 9, 2021
Wale Akinde is campaigning for governor of Ekiti State, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. See an article making a case for Akinde's candidacy by Deji Adeniyi.


Maj. Gen. Doug Stitt ‘90Maj. Gen. Doug Stitt '90
March 9, 2021
Congratulations to newly promoted Maj. Gen. Doug Stitt, Director of Military Personnel Management in the Army G-1! Very well deserved! See Facebook post.


Braeden Ostepchuk '18Braeden Ostepchuk '18
March 3, 2021
Braeden Ostepchuk, as scores of Norwich University students had before and since, learned the Guiding Values and used them as a behavioral lodestar through academics, athletics and campus life. He succeeded at seemingly every turn, becoming class valedictorian and an ice hockey Academic All-American. When Ostepchuk’s postcollege life reached a crossroads, the values came through again, becoming a model for drafting his own.
See the full article (links to Norwich.edu news story)


Dawn Delfino '99 Dawn Delfino '99
February 4, 2021
Dawn Delfino has long solved problems and blazed trails. At Norwich, she joined the women’s hockey club that preceded the women’s varsity ice hockey program. In almost 20 years of policing, she drew on conflict resolution skills to earn Officer of the Year recognition certificates from California’s state Senate and Assembly and the U.S. Congress. On Nov. 1, Delfino earned important stripes, becoming the first woman sergeant in the Gilroy, California, police department’s 62-year history.
See the full article (links to Norwich.edu news story)


Lt. Col. Joe Colantoni ’03Lt. Col. Joe Colantoni '03
January 22, 2021
Twelve National Guard soldiers were removed from the inaugural security detail in Washington over security concerns. While none of them were members of the Vermont contingent, Vermont National Guard Lt. Col. Joe Colantoni says the Guard uses a series of recurring background checks to ensure soldiers aren’t violating the rules or drifting away from the values and vision of the military.

“When our soldiers join, they do change. Sometimes ideologies change and sometimes behavior changes, sometimes it gets better, sometimes it gets worse,” said Colantoni.
See the full article (links to article and video on wcax.com)

Kaycie Anderson ’15, Sarah Schwenzfeier ’18 and Amanda Conway ’20Kaycie Anderson '15, Sarah Schwenzfeier '18 and Amanda Conway '20
January 20, 2021
Three former Norwich University women’s ice hockey standouts headed to Lake Placid, N.Y., for two weeks to compete for the Connecticut Whale in the 2021 National Women’s Hockey League season. Kaycie Anderson, a 2015 NU graduate, 2018 grad Sarah Schwenzfeier and 2020 grad Amanda Conway joined the Whale as they opened a five-game round-robin schedule Saturday, Jan. 23.
See the full article (links to news site).
Also see Three Alumni Set to Play for Connecticut Whale in NWHL.


Eric Locke '12, M'17
January 20, 2021
Worcester County Jail and House of Correction staff member Eric Locke of Paxton (MA) was recently promoted to the rank of captain by Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.
See the full article (links to news site)


Emily Jordan '192nd Lt. Emily Jordan, '19
January 19, 2021
Second Lt. Emily Jordan is one of about 500 Massachusetts National Guard personnel who deployed to Washington ahead of the inauguration. Jordan, 23, grew up in Dalton (MA) and graduated from Wahconah Regional High School in 2015. She is said to be the first female infantry officer in the history of the Massachusetts National Guard.
See the full article (links to news site). Also see Live from Northfield, Vermont ... Welcome, Mr. President!.


Karen Daffner ‘77 (L)Karen Daffner, '77
January 19, 2021
Longtime Schenectady (NY) City School District coach and physical education teacher Karen Daffner (at left) was ecstatic when her girls’ bowling team won the Section II Class A championship last season — the first Section II title for any girls’ program at that high school in 16 years. But that milestone win — and none of the victories or losses in any of the four sports she coached at various levels for 31 seasons — didn’t define her legacy. Instead, what everyone who had their lives touched by Daffner will remember are her toughness contrasted with her many acts of kindness and generosity.
See the full article (links to news site) (A previous article, just one week before, available here.)


Cyran Willis '20Cyran Willis, '20
January 15, 2021
Three months after Cyran Willis '20 lost his Norwich class ring at Hampton Beach (NH), a complete stranger reached out to return it. Brian Knowlton of Westfield, MA says every time he finds a lost ring at the beach with his metal detector, he always makes his best effort to find the owner and reunite them with their lost valuable. He cleaned off the ring and found Willis' name engraved inside, and began a journey on social media to connect the class ring to its rightful owner.
See the full article (links to article and video on wcax.com) 


U.S. Army 1st Lt. Andrew Torressen '17 1st Lt. Andrew Torressen, '17
January 14, 2021

Andrew Torressen, a 2017 Norwich University graduate from Moultonborough, New Hampshire, began the new year exemplifying his alma mater’s service-before-self mission. He joined New Hampshire National Guard units coordinating COVID-19 vaccinations for people at high risk of infection — health care workers, first responders and people working or living in long-term care.
See the full article (links to Norwich.edu news story)


Joe Bertrand ‘18 (far Right)

Joe Bertrand, '18
January 8, 2021
Saugus (MA) High School (SHS) boys’ basketball will have a Bertrand leading the way. The school’s athletic department announced on Dec. 30 that former Saugus great and 1,000-plus-point scorer Joe Bertrand will co-coach the boys’ varsity team with Bill Cahill in an interim role.
See the full article (links to news site) Also see Bertrand Brothers Band Together in Coaching.

Photo caption: From 2016, Norwich University basketball player Dan Bertrand '20, father Mark, SHS boys basketball coach Paul Moran and Joe Bertrand '18, one of the senior members of the Cadets squad that year, from left, are shown together after a game at Plymouth State University. Four years later, Joe will be a co-coach of the Saugus boys' basketball varsity team.


Don Brown '77Don Brown '77
January 7, 2021
University of Arizona football coach Jedd Fisch on Thursday morning announced the hiring of legendary defensive mind Don Brown '77 as the Wildcats’ defensive coordinator. Brown, long known for his aggressive and blitz-heavy attacks, has earned the nickname “Dr. Blitz”. Widely considered one of the top defensive coaches in college football, Brown joins Arizona after five successful seasons leading the Michigan Wolverines defense. Don is a 2007 inductee in the Norwich University Athletic Hall of Fame.
See the full article (links to news site) Also see Former Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown to take the same role at Arizona.


Sean Kalletta '17
January 3, 2021
Kalletta, a Suffolk County (NY) police officer, led a man and woman to safety after running into their burning home in Selden on Saturday night, Jan. 2. According to Suffolk police, Officer Kalletta “entered the burning home and found two residents attempting to rescue their two dogs." Kalletta then escorted the husband and wife out of their home and attempted to rescue the dogs.
See the full article (links to news site)