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 class crest facing him or her until graduation. Then, the ring is turned around so that the Norwich crest faces the wearer.
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 2014 side
- The Norwich Cadet
- The military cadet represents all Norwich cadets past, present, and future. It is gender neutral, signifying we are all one. The cadet is split in half, wearing two uniforms. Summer Bs on the left symbolize the present, and BDUs on the right represent the uniform worn by our predecessors. Though the corps may have changed on the surface throughout the years, the proud military tradition and institutional legacy are still strongly intact, signified by a unified single cadet.
- Our Nations Colors and Flag Pole
- The cadet stands tall at “Present Arms” underneath the American flag waving in the Vermont sky, a symbol of our nation and the freedom we embrace. The flag pole has been a rallying point on the Upper Parade Ground for decades — a place where thousands of cadets have stood with pride to render honors and respect to America and her ideals. The flag also reminds us, whether or not we serve in the military, that we are here to become better citizen soldiers. To do so we live by Norwich’s Guiding Values, the first being “We are men and women of honor and integrity.”
- Sabine Sally
- Sabine Sally, a WWII-era Sherman tank, was taken off campus to be refurbished during the spring of our freshman year and is scheduled to return to Norwich before the graduation of our class. Sabine Sally is a mighty symbol of Norwich as the Military College of Vermont and a proud part of her heritage, which will live on through the decades.
- The Chinook
- The Chinook helicopter represents our country’s involvement and dedication to our national defense in the Global War on Terror. It represents the 31 U.S. Special Operations troops, who paid the ultimate sacrifice when their Chinook was shot down in eastern Afghanistan on August 6, 2011 — the same day Norwich was founded in 1819. One of those killed was Norwich’s own, alumnus Chief Petty Officer Brian Bill, ’01. The helicopter also represents the service members who made the fateful raid May 2, 2011 during our freshman year, which killed Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the horrific 9/11 attacks on our country’s soil.
- Rook Piece
- The rook piece is a staple of Norwich ring tradition. The six palisades on top of the rook piece represent the six rook training companies our freshman year and the numerals “3″ and “4″ depict the 3rd and 4th freshmen training battalions. The time, 2238, is when we were officially recognized as Cadets into the Norwich University Corps of Cadets.
- The Chain Links
- The chain links represent the connection of the past to the future. They signify the continuation of the Norwich Ring tradition and the long standing Corps of Cadets, first assembled in military ranks in Norwich, Vermont in 1819. We must continue to forge strong links in this chain, while upholding the tradition, honor, and prestige built by previous classes.
- The mountains behind Sabine Sally represent Vermont’s beautiful Green Mountains where we have grown as a class, as cadets, and as citizens. We have trained and shed sweat and tears in these hills, all for the betterment of our Alma Mater and our country. The mountains also represent the rugged terrain of the Middle East. Here some of us will deploy as Norwich graduates to stand in harm’s way against all enemies foreign and domestic while defending this great Republic during the Global War on Terror.
- The Olive Leaves and Arrows
- These represent both the strength of our class and our Nation, as well as our continuous striving for peace in a time of war. The four arrows, instead of the conventional three, serve as homage to the four years we spent at Norwich University being forged into future leaders, outstanding citizens, and service members.
- Spiritus Invictus
- (“Indomitable Spirit” in Latin) The inscription is a testament to the strength and spirit of our class, which never gave up during Rookdom and persisted to become cadets. We refuse to succumb to weakness and evil, nor will we ever allow our country to fall to the same. Our spirit will remain as strong and bold as ever. The words remind every one of us where we came from and instill the courage to persevere in the face of adversity — “I Will Try!”