Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa didn't listen

I guess I didn’t get my letter off to Santa in time. Just a day after I included “more college wrestling programs” on my wish list came the news that Norwich University in Northfield, VT will drop its wrestling program at the end of the academic year.

Here is a copy of the press release from Mike Moyer at the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

Without question these are difficult economic times. Companies, government agencies, colleges and universities – and you and I – are all looking for ways to cut expenses. Institutions of higher learning throughout the land are watching their endowment funds shrink with every point the Dow Jones Average falls. In the minds of many college administrators, athletics should be the first budget cut – with “Olympic sports” the first to go. As in the case of Norwich University – wrestling will top many “cut lists”. It seems an easy choice, “computer science or wrestling?” It seems easy – but is it?

Wrestling has been a part of education since Socrates. Plato wrestled. As Mike points out in his press release, thirteen presidents and seventeen astronauts wrestled. Nobel laureate, Dr. Norman Borlaug, has credited his high school wrestling coach in Cresco, IA with teaching him the discipline he needed to carry out his research. It is not a stretch to say that millions of people around the world have been saved from starvation, in part, because of the lessons taught Dr. Borlaug by wrestling. Isn’t education supposed to be about teaching the “whole student”?

Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Alden Partridge and is the country’s oldest private military school. It says on the Norwich website, “Norwich has a mission, a job to do, and it takes it very seriously. We are here to serve this great nation and educate students who will become leaders in business, government, and the military in order to advance the causes of the Republic, ensure its continued freedom, and develop the economic, political, and social infrastructure of this new century.”

We are at war and facing an economic crisis. Don’t we need young leaders who have learned how to “get off their backs” and triumph?

I urge you to join Mike in his letter writing campaign. Please express your concerns to

Dr. Richard M Schneider
Norwich University
158 Harmon Drive
Northfield, VT 05663


Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, Chairman
Norwich University Board of Trustees
c/o David Whaley, Secretary
158 Harmon Drive
Northfield, VT 05663

I also reiterate Mike’s request that you be respectful when you write. We’re in for a long battle, but we’re up to the challenge.

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