Richard W. Schneider, Ph.D. RADM, USCGR (Ret.) President, Norwich University
Kicking off Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies (CGCS) Residency week, the Dean’s Welcome event is an opportunity for members and family of the graduating class to enrich themselves in the culture of their new alma mater. The 2019 Dean’s Welcome, hosted by CGCS Vice President and Dean, William Clements, Ph.D., focused on the leadership styles of Norwich’s longest seated president, Dr. Richard W. Schneider.
A Queens, New York, native, Dr. Schneider is a 1968 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and he retired from the Coast Guard Reserve as a Rear Admiral in July 1998. In July 1992, Dr. Schneider was appointed the 23rd President of Norwich University. Dr. Schneider’s leadership skills that he learned from his military experience, as well as his teaching and volunteering experience, made him the standout presidential candidate.
“I said, I wasn’t looking [for a presidential position], but now I am. You see, when the right thing might happen to you, be open to it, and go out and explore it,” Dr. Schneider said at the 2019 Dean’s Welcome events, referring to being asked to fill the role as President of Norwich University.
Dr. Schneider was quick to implement his skills by improving the financial security of the university within the first year of his presidency through the relationships that he and the university built within the Northfield community. A clear and strong mission is what has always made Norwich stand out as a leader in higher education. Following that mission, Dr. Schneider’s vision for Norwich University has always been to build a strong team by empowering the people around him.
“Your own personal integrity is [the] most important thing that you [have]. Then, you build a good team of people you trust even when you are not there,” said Dr. Schneider. Dr. Schneider believes that it is a leader’s job to provide resources to the team, as well as lead the institution through change in tradition when necessary.
Dr. Schneider honored the tradition of rotating out regimental commanders yearly at Norwich University – a strong tradition that reflects Norwich’s mission and Dr. Schneider’s vision. When change is needed, Dr. Schneider advises a moral leader will find out what the issue is and will speak out against it. This is what separates a good leader from a great leader.
“Lead from the front. When you are in leadership and are in charge, be in charge. Don’t punt,” Dr. Schneider said.
Dr. Schneider concluded his journey of leadership while at Norwich University with one piece of advice to the CGCS graduating class: find mentors in and out of the field because no one ever knows where they will end up one day.
“I finished my doctor work, like many of you finished your master’s work, after work [while] my kids went to bed because I was a single dad with four little kids,” Dr. Schneider said to the Norwich University CGCS Class of 2019. “I know how hard this is. I admire you. I am proud of you.”
After 28 years of presidency, Dr. Schneider concluded his last Residency Conference with Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies in June 2019. Dr. Schneider is set to retire in June 2020.