Norwich University is a four-year, private senior military college nestled in a valley of the Green Mountains in Northfield, VT. Norwich was founded in 1819 by Cpt. Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and was where he would implement the “American System” of education, which involved traditional education alongside military instruction. His dedication to preparing future generations of citizen-soldiers birthed the original version of what would eventually become formally known as the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
Partridge was superintendent of West Point when in 1815, he first submitted a proposal to Congress that would implement a national education system surrounding professional and militia officers. However, it was not accepted at the time. Four years later, in 1819, he founded the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy in Northfield, VT (chartered as Norwich University in 1834), which would be the vessel for his vision. This marked the first time in the country’s history that a private higher-learning institution operated in a military mode.
Norwich University and Partridge’s “American System” of education laid the groundwork for the future of American education with the combination of traditional and military education. His emphasis on leadership and military knowledge firmly reinforced his vision that youth must be prepared to “Discharge, in the best possible manner, the duties they owe to themselves, to their fellow men, and their country.”
Over the past two centuries, Norwich University has produced prestigious alumni with a strong inclination for leadership, such as native Vermonter Lt. Col. William D. Munson, who led the 13th Vermont Infantry Regiment during the Battle of Gettysburg, and Lt. Gen. Edward H. Brooks, who led the “Hell on Wheels” 2nd Armored Division during the invasion of Normandy, as well as fighting in both World Wars and the Korean War. Though conflict has changed, Norwich’s ability to produce leaders has not; Norwich graduates are generals in the Pentagon, White House officials, and soldiers both overseas and at home.
The university now offers direct paths to service through U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force ROTC programs. Efforts to offer multiple pathways to service are continuous, and in 2022 a pathway to U.S. Coast Guard service was created. One of the Coast Guard Auxiliary University Programs (AUP) made its way to Northfield after Norwich was identified as one of the “primary target schools” for its expansion. Although separate from ROTC, AUPs operate in a similar fashion and prepare individuals for service – whether professional or volunteer – through practical training and exercises in the field in addition to their traditional education. Upon graduation from ROTC or the Coast Guard’s AUP, Cadets are prepared for leadership in both the military and private spheres.
Alongside ROTC, Norwich offers Cadets the chance to join specialty units like the Regimental Band, Cavalry Troop, Mountain Cold Weather Company, Ranger Company, Artillery Battery, and other specialty units. These offer a unique addition to the ROTC experience and provide a specialized outlet for Cadets to refine their military education and leadership abilities. Whether a Cadet chooses professional service or a private employer upon graduation, these skills are applicable across fields.
Norwich University also offers multiple ways to the classroom, and partners with institutions like the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) to ensure that those who serve have a place to continue their education. This partnership allows joint Special Operations Force operators to transition smoothly when enrolling into a Norwich online degree program while ensuring they receive that same Norwich support during their education. Similarly, the university also offers support to graduates of the United States Air Force Academy who are pursuing a master’s degree through both academic support and Air Force Tuition Assistance, as well as removing the hurdle of including a GRE, resume, and letter of intention.
Students enrolled online through the partnership with JSOU join Norwich’s wide network of online students in the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies, which launched in 1997 when it offered its first online degree program in diplomacy and military science. Norwich University Online extends the university’s academic model to approximately 1,200 current students through master’s degrees, bachelor’s degree programs, graduate certificates, and enrichment programs.
Norwich University is today led by President Maj. Gen. (VSM) Mark Anarumo, Ph.D. and offers more than 50 undergraduate degree programs, master’s degree programs, graduate certificates, and continued professional education, both online and on-campus in Northfield.