Norwich's mission statement is one of the most unique statements found in higher education. We know exactly who we are, why we are here, and where we are going. We are able to be very specific:
To give our youth an education that shall be American in character — to enable them to act as well as to think — to execute as well as to conceive — “to tolerate all opinions when reason is left free to combat them” — to make moral, patriotic, efficient, and useful citizens, and to qualify them for all those high responsibilities resting upon a citizen of this free republic.
The distinctive terms and phrases found in this definition provide important clues in understanding the essence of this organization, and ultimately the directions we will seek and the outcomes we will require of our students. The most distinguishing terms are:
American in character
global in perspective
thinking and acting
conceiving and executing
making moral and patriotic citizens
making useful citizens
qualifying graduates for responsibilities of a free republic
These, as well as other distinguishing outcomes of the Norwich experience are discussed below:
American in character means that we teach students to understand and hold dear those values and principles upon which this free republic was established. The American experience was unique and world changing in its development. It was built upon the fundamentals of democracy and the notion that people have inalienable rights. We want our students to know the principles and the events in which these principles manifested which lead up to the great American experiment, the history of our successful journey, and the reasons why the principles manifested in the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence are worth fighting for. Between curriculum and student life, we build in this value and ensure our students understand it.
Global in perspective means that our students should understand that the USA is not alone in this world. The world is a very complex place, and civilization and her emerging cultures have actually taken several courses in arriving at the present day. Defining the entire world with American values distorts the reality of a multicultural planet and limits one's perspective on the history of man's journey to the present time. Because America is a leader in the world, and because our students are destined to be leaders in America, we must understand and respect all points of view as part of gaining the wisdom to lead. Between curriculum and student life, we build in this value and ensure our students understand it.
Mutual respect, social graces, and politeness. Mutual respect is a cornerstone of civilization and a foundation of academia. It is what initiates a salute; it is what allows two people to appreciate each other for the value that they bring to the relationship, no matter how lasting or temporary the relationship is. It is common human decency, kindness, and a cornerstone of a civil society. Mutual respect turns into lasting friendship. Its successful breeding at Norwich University is a primary reason why people develop close relationships with those they otherwise might not. In addition to mutual respect, Norwich students and graduates are known for their grace in social situations and their politeness. The Norwich environment breeds this characteristic. Between curriculum and student life, we build in these values and ensure our students continue to practice them.
Service is an integral part of the Norwich experience. Students must experience the phenomenon of service to others before self as a vital part of the maturation process and take with them from Norwich the expectation that service will be a lifelong commitment. Leaders serve, and we purport to train leaders. Between curriculum and student life, we need to build in this value and ensure our students experience it.
Medicine and Health Programs at Norwich University