Norwich University | Alumni & Family



News from the NUAA - Summer 2015

Rook Recognition, Junior Ring Ceremony, and Graduation are three significant milestones in every Norwich Cadet’s experience. But while Junior Weekend and Graduation have been formal and relatively consistent events for almost a century, the way Norwich has recognized its Rooks has differed greatly.

Over the years, Rooks have been recognized anywhere between November and May, in ceremonies with varying amounts of fanfare, and in different locations around campus. Sometimes the Regimental Commander recognized Rooks from the Crows Nest in the mess hall; other classes recall recognition on the Upper Parade. For most of Norwich history the specific criteria for recognition have been ambiguous. In recent years those inconsistencies have been replaced by a formal nighttime ceremony that rivals the energy of Junior Weekend and the prestige of Graduation.

Rooks and their Cadre march down to Plumley. As they enter the darkened armory, a spotlight follows the Regimental Staff and Color Guard. On the elevated running track above, upperclassmen wait in silence. Solemn words are spoken as Rooks internalize the significance of the moment. Bearing witness, the hovering upperclassmen officially welcome them into the Corps, tapping their rings on the railing surrounding the track. The cavernous room echoes with the deafening reverberation of metal on metal—a subtle reminder of who is still in charge and that greater moments lie ahead.

On February 1 of this year, all of those things happened—with one twist. Following behind the Regimental Staff and Color Guard were three members of the Class of 1968—David Briggs, Bob Guptill, and Yank Shugg. Their presence marked the beginning an NUAA initiative that connects each incoming class with the class that graduated 46 years prior. Through the program, which has been dubbed, “Accepting the Challenge,” members of the class 50 years its senior commit to serving as mentors and a support system for the incoming class. When the members of the Class of 2018—both cadets and civilians—are seniors, the Class of 1968 will celebrate its 50th reunion and enter the Old Guard of NU alumni. In this way, each student becomes a unique link in a chain of Norwich experience that spans a century.

Moments before the Rooks were recognized, Briggs said, “Our only expectation is that your class will stand here in 2068 and share the 100-year perspective you will then have in the same spirit as we are offering you here tonight…when you need to call on us, we will respond and We Will Try.”

The NUAA’s initiative, “Accepting the Challenge,” is off to a great start. Members of the Classes of 1969 and 2019 will be the next two classes to be asked to “accept the challenge.”

Randall H. Miller ’93 & M’07
On behalf of the Norwich University Alumni Association Board of Directors