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

The Norwich side of the class ring.

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 2019 side

Centennial Stairs
The Centennial Stairs mark the significance of Norwich’s past and present. As rooks, earning the privilege to descend the Centennial Stairs is a rite of passage, which is symbolized by the stairs being joined with the rook piece at the bottom of the ring. The stairs are a reminder of those who have ascended before us. Their collective accomplishments contribute to the legacy that is Norwich University and represent a long and storied history of excellence and service to others.

Saber & Sword
The presence of the saber and sword illustrate a part of our history since our founding and cavalry days. The sword worn by a non-commissioned officer is positioned on the left and the officer saber on the right to symbolize the non-commissioned officer and officer relationship and their impact upon the Corps of Cadets. It also represents the transition from junior-year cadet non-commissioned officer positions to senior-year cadet officer positions.

American Flag
The American flag represents freedom, sacrifice, and the values lived by every day as a cadet. Old Glory symbolizes the patriotism and service every Norwich cadet holds in their heart for the United States. She is an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy paid for by the ultimate sacrifice of our fallen heroes.

The four stars at the ring’s base represent the four branches of commissioned military service at Norwich. In addition, the stars represent Four-Star General Mark A. Milley, 39th Chief of Staff of the Army, and his keynote address to the Corps in recognition of the centennial celebration of the founding of ROTC at Norwich University, our nation’s oldest private military college.

The mountains mirror the view from Dole Cemetery, a destination for many ruck marches throughout our years in the cadet uniform. The four peaks depict the four-year journey on the Hill, and the challenges, physical, mental, and emotional, that every one of us encounters along our chosen path. Flowing through the mountains is the Dog River, which weaves alongside of our beautiful campus.

A tradition marked by the rocky beginning of the journey to become a cadet. The Dog River Run forges the solid foundation upon which we must build to earn our place in the Regiment upon recognition. Through trial and error, sweat and tears, we chip away at our rocky edges, in a symbolic way that transforms every cadet into Norwich men and women of the highest honor and integrity.

The wreath is composed of 19 individual leaves representing our graduation year of 2019. In keeping with the historical tradition, wreaths are often associated with excellence. Its’ presence on our ring signifies that we are in constant pursuit of bettering ourselves to achieve excellence.

Norwich tradition commenced in 1819 and will endure long after our class graduates. The Bicentennial Class is another page in Norwich’s rich history. The book holds the honor of 200 years of proud military traditions. The open book allows for the cadet to always be willing to learn, lead, and live.

Rook Piece (2-7-16)
The centered rook piece represents “Rookdom”, the indoctrination period for each rook who earned the title of cadet and developed to become Norwich men and women of honor and integrity. The Class of 2019’s recognition date, February 7, 2016, is inscribed into the stone as it is etched in the mind of every cadet.

We must be reminded that even though the Corps has changed over our long and distinguished history, we remain rooted in tradition. Each chain link is forged to represent the individual rook platoons. Although we come from many different backgrounds, we are united in our duty to our Class, the Corps, our University, and our Country.

Connect with us

Norwich University
158 Harmon Drive
Northfield, VT 05663 USA
802.485.2000 | 1.800.468.6679
Copyright © 2018 Norwich University - all rights reserved