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Presidents Corner

By Richard Schneider
On February 10, 2011

I hope that you had a nice mid-year vacation and are ready for the new semester. The campus will be very busy in the coming weeks. TDS Telecom, our local phone company, is working to expand the internet bandwidth at Norwich. This increase will result in improved, faster internet connections on campus. The project is a direct result of your comments in the campus master plan survey. Many students took the opportunity to express dissatisfaction with the internet connection, and we were able to secure resources and address the situation.

The spring Todd Lecture Series, sponsored by the academic schools, is currently in progress. The School of Math & Science and School of National Services events were held earlier this week, with five more lectures scheduled in February, and one in March.

In addition to the Todd Series, the 16th Annual Colby Military Writers' Symposium will be held March 30–April 1. The theme for this year's symposium is An Uncertain Future in Afghanistan: Assessing the Conflict Ten Years On.

The Todd Lecture Series and the Colby Symposium bring some of the world's leading historians, authors, scientists, and military minds to campus. These visitors share their insights and perspectives and offer time for questions about their subject matter. The Todd lectures and Colby Symposium are wonderful learning opportunities, and I highly recommend that all students attend these significant events.

In other news around campus, work has begun on the development of the outdoor recreation center. At Homecoming last fall Larry Costa, class of 1980, was celebrating his 30th reunion. During his class banquet, Larry surprised everyone by announcing that he would donate $1.4M to fully fund the Paine Mountain ski area project.

Larry explained that he really enjoys the outdoors and especially liked being a member of the Mountain Cold Weather (MCW) unit and skiing while at Norwich. Larry wants students today to have these same recreational opportunities on Paine Mountain. When Larry was an undergrad, SFC John Shaw, his ROTC instructor and MCW advisor, had a profound effect on his college career. SFC Shaw kept Larry focused and helped him to succeed at Norwich. The two men later became business partners. John died ten years ago, and Larry said that he would be giving the money to the University to have the outdoor recreation center named in honor of SFC Shaw.

The outdoor recreation center is one of two capital projects in the Bearing the Torch initiative. The other capital project will be the renovation and development of Sabine field.

Once completed, the SFC Shaw Outdoor Recreation Center will feature trails for jogging, cross-country running races, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding and mountain biking. As part of the project, equipment will be purchased which will be available for student use at no charge.

The project will also have educational elements on the trail system to teach users about subjects such as botany, biology, and geology. In addition, there will be an area designated for paintball and Corps/outdoor training.

The outdoor recreation center will have a single building that will serve as a storage area for equipment as well as provide lounge space and bathrooms. Office and meeting space for Mountain Cold Weather will also be created.

Work crews are currently logging on Paine Mountain, and once permits are obtained we anticipate beginning construction of the recreation center in the spring. It is sure to be a wonderful facility, and an asset to both the University and the Central Vermont community.

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