Post Classifieds

Prompting dialogue

By Richard Schneider
On April 12, 2011

At Norwich we work to foster an atmosphere of discussion and independent thinking both inside and outside of the classroom. During the past two weeks several events have brought people to campus to give presentations and prompt dialogue on a variety of issues. These opportunities help to enrich the academic environment at our university.  

On March 23 and 24 the School of Social Sciences and the School of Math & Science presented the Real CSI Symposium. The theme for the event was "A Cross-Disciplined Approach," and it featured six experts in the field of crime scene investigations. One guest of note was Detective Inspector Anne Lawrence, a 28-year veteran with the Metropolitan Police Service in London who heads up a team of terrorist detectives at New Scotland Yard.

The following Monday, Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp, the 52nd Chief of Engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave a talk as part of the Spring Todd Lecture Series. Gen. Van Antwerp has had a 39-year career in the military, and his views on engineering, strategic leadership and service were very inspirational.

Last week we welcomed seven nationally-acclaimed authors to campus for the 16th annual William E. Colby Military Writers' Symposium. These distinguished guests made themselves available for classroom instruction, book presentations, one-on-one discussions with students, and a public session covering the topic of the war in Afghanistan.

Yesterday Daniel Choi, a former American infantry officer in the United States Army who has publically challenged America's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, was the keynote speaker as part of Norwich's inaugural Speak Week. Speak Week has been created to promote a healthy, inclusive and respectful campus climate.

The future will bring more prominent guests to campus. Rear Admiral Walter E. Carter, Jr. will give the keynote address at this year's joint commissioning ceremony on May 14. As the commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint Enabling Capabilities Command (JECC), Adm. Carter is charged with the readiness, training and deployment of seven joint enabling capabilities provided by the Joint Deployable Teams, Joint Public Affairs Support Element, Joint Communications Support Element and the Intelligence-Quick Reaction Team.

This year's speaker for our May 15 commencement ceremony will be the Honorable Jane Holl Lute. Dr. Lute currently serves as the deputy secretary of homeland security. She has over 30 years of military and senior executive experience in the United States government and at the heart of efforts to prevent and resolve international crises. Dr. Lute has served as assistant secretary-general of the United Nations, responsible for support to peacekeeping operations.

Finally, we have just received confirmation that James Carville and Mary Matalin will be our fall Todd Lecture Series speakers for an Oct. 5 event. Carville is a Democratic political consultant and commentator, and his wife, Mary Matalin, is a Republican political consultant and commentator.

In addition to these public talks, there are numerous departmental and school lectures that take place on campus throughout the year. We are fortunate to have so many events with innovative thinkers and leaders which provide forums for the exchange of ideas and scholarly enrichment. This is exactly what I would hope for with a vibrant, intellectual community like Norwich University. 

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