The Class Ring
The Norwich class ring is presented to third-year members of the Corps of Cadets at the Junior Ring Ceremony. The ring is a prized possession, and much effort goes into earning the right to wear it.
The ring tradition at Norwich began in the spring of 1923 when the senior class adopted a class ring for each member who would graduate in June. In time, the process of ring design and presentation shifted to the junior year. However, it was not until the mid-1960s that a policy for standardization of design was in place.
Each class is permitted to design one side of the ring. The second side of the class ring, however, must conform to a University standard.
Norwich rings, like the service academy rings, feature a class crest on one side and the school crest on the other, with a bezel surrounding a stone or similar inset on top.
Tradition dictates the cadet wear the Norwich ring on their right hand with the class side facing him or her until graduation. Upon graduation, the Norwich ring is turned around so that the 1819 side of the ring with the word “HONOR” appears closest to the heart and “NORWICH UNIVERSITY” around the circumference of the bezel appears facing out, allowing the general public to read the name of our beloved institution.
The Norwich side
- Norwich was the first private military college in the country, established in 1819. Our founder, Captain Alden Partridge, understood that a structured military lifestyle combined with rigorous academics would benefit those pursuing careers in both the military world and the private sector.
- Cavalry sabers
- Flanking either side of the shield, they represent our kinship with Vermont’s first cavalry. Today, cadet officers wear sabers in lieu of carrying rifles.
- NUCC scroll
- Flowing on either side of the shield, the scroll distinguishes those who wear the ring as members of the Norwich University Corps of Cadets.
- Norwich shield
- Depicts a cannon and an engineer’s transit in the foreground of a mountain range, with the rays of the morning sun rising above it. The cannon represents the military heritage of the institution; an engineer’s transit represents our academic mission. Finally, the rising sun over the Green Mountains represents the light of knowledge flowering on “The Hill.” The numerals 1819 hallmark the founding date of the University.
- Surmounted on the Norwich shield, symbolic of strength and courage in its depiction of both our school and as our national symbol.
- Honor scroll
- Superimposed upon the talons of the eagle, it stands for the fundamental attributes of character. Honor is a virtue that impels loyalty and courage, truthfulness and self respect, justice and generosity. A cadet’s honor is never in question if he or she is true in thought, word and deed.
- “I Will Try”
- It was said to have been used as a rallying cry by former Norwich President Truman Bishop Ransom, before his death as he charged a hill at the Battle of Chapultapec during the Mexican War. It conveys the spirit of the University and has been adopted as our motto.
The Class of 2015 side
The cannon is a symbol of legacy and the many traditions at Norwich. The cannon has woken generations of rooks during rook week. In ceremony it is fired to remember the fallen. It was fired when we first became a part of this school and will be fired when we leave it.
The American Flag represents our country and the one symbol that will forever maintain our enduring freedom. It is also the representation of what we will forever preserve and fight for whether it be in foreign lands or on the home front as a civilian or as a member of the United States military.
The Upper Parade Ground view of the ring represents the heart of Norwich. It symbolizes unity, friendship, and makes Norwich different from any other college or Military institution. It represents the hard work and devotion put into the Corps and academics from the Cadets whom live on it. The skyline view embodies the true beauty and magnificence that surrounds The Military College of Vermont. The UP is the glue that holds the school together.
Cadet marching the Vigil Tour
The Cadet marching the vigil tour is a symbol of the pride we have not only in our school but also in our country. We recognize and honor all those courageous Americans that have passed while fighting or maintaining the reputation of our great country. Cadets know that it is important to always look towards the future, but also recognize that we can learn important lessons by taking time to reflect on the sacrifices that brave Americans have made in the past.
The buildings represent the memories that will be forever ingrained in our minds. The halls of the UP represent the home of the Corps. By simply walking through the doors of one of these buildings we are reminded of our time spent as rooks to earn a true place in Corps and of the good times spent with our Cadet family.
The trees of the UP change with every season and grow with every year. Each year as Rooks become Cadets the Corps grows and changes. Even though we only wear the uniform of the Corps for four years, the values that we hold deep within keep us tied to the Corps for life, just like the unseen roots in the earth of the UP keep the trees standing tall.
Crack in the Rook piece
The crack in the rook piece signifies a sense of strength and resilience in the face of disaster and setbacks. Not even in the face of a vicious hurricane could we be defeated and crumble. We held strong and kept it together to prevail over the highest of obstacles. We will always hold true to ourselves that we will never fall apart during the confrontation of the most extreme challenges.
The mountains represent the challenges that we face and obstacles that we try to overcome. They also provide a test of character to persist through your struggles and make progress. Although your obstacles may be challenging, put in the effort, don’t give up, and drive your way to the top.
The mountain also fulfills as the scenery and environment of Norwich University.
The sun represents our new beginning when we became part of the Corps of Cadets at Norwich University. The sun also symbolizes the bright potential we all posses as future influential leaders. We look back at where we have been and the obstacles that lie before us, but now look for brighter days and perseverance.
Our Rook recognition date. A date that we will never forget. An endpoint of our longest and hardest battle that distinguishes us from any other college student around the world. The reward at the end of the strenuous path that we chose.
The passing cloud represents the temporary challenges of our Norwich careers and lives. Even during dark times there is always a confidence for better days. We have come to know hope and fight through trials no matter the scale and we have always found the light.
The rook piece displayed on the base of the rings’ class side represents the foundation of the Norwich experience, Rookdom. The MCV inscribed on the top of the castle denotes Norwich’s status as the Military College of Vermont.
The year that we graduate our Alma Mater which distinguishes us from any other class that will graduate Norwich.
The Latin inscription on top of the ring translates to “service”. As citizen soldiers we are all destined to serve our nation in some capacity. Whether we choose to serve in uniform or as a civilian, by choosing to become Cadets we have all demonstrated that we are willing to serve protect the ideals that our nation was founded on. The freedom and security that we as Americans are afforded would not be possible without the men and women of the past, present, and future who dedicate themselves to service.