Year of Legacy Profiles

Four of a Kind: The DeSilvio Family Legacy

The DeSilvio siblingsNeither Nick nor Christine DeSilvio attended Norwich, but together they have created an astonishing Norwich legacy. This year, four of their five children are enrolled at Norwich. (The fifth one, a high school junior, is thinking about applying.) The DeSilvios may not be the first couple to send four children to Norwich, but it is quite likely they are the only one ever to have four enrolled at the same time.

How did this happen? Frank, the oldest of the DeSilvio siblings, applied to Norwich after hearing about it from his high school athletic director, Jack Fletcher ’72. Of the schools that accepted Frank, Norwich gave him the best deal. Says has dad, “When you have five children, economics comes into play; so I told the kids, ‘Don’t apply anywhere that you don’t want to go, and out of those schools that accept you, choose the school that gives you the best offer.’”

When, one after the other, Frank’s next-in-line siblings to applied to college, Norwich offered each of them the best deal. How does Frank feel about the fact that three people he grew up in the same house with followed him to school? “Originally he hated it,” says Nick. “He was like, ‘What the heck’s going on? Is this DeSilvio University?’ He thought he was getting away.”

But now that they are all here, he loves it—and so do his parents. “We’ve made a lot of trips up there,” says Christine. “So we know a lot of the people, a lot of the kids,” adds her husband. “When [our kids] come back for breaks, we get the whole blow by blow, full-semester breakdown of what happened, who’s where, and so on,” says Nick, “and it’s really great, because when they talk about someone, they each know who the person is, and very often, we do too.”

Of course, there can be disadvantages to being surrounded by family at college. “There are always eyes watching you,” says KristieAnn, a civilian sophomore and RA who plays on the basketball team. “So if I don’t tell my parents something, one of my siblings will.” Dominic, a rook on the football team, faces an altogether different issue. “Because my older brother Nick [Jr.] is a first lieutenant in the regiment, a lot of the upperclassmen expect a lot more out of me.”

Although Nick Jr. is a junior in the Corps, he says the cadet lifestyle wasn’t what originally drew him to Norwich. “Here at Norwich the professors take care of you; they help you find your special interest.”

He first found that out by watching his older brother Frank. “When I first came here, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do,” Frank says. “Then, about halfway through the first semester, I met professor Shernock. He got me really interested in the CJ system, and he’s pushed me from the very beginning.”

In fact, all four DeSilvio siblings are criminal justice majors, but with their sights set on different paths. Frank wants to go into Federal Service. Nick Jr. talks about working overseas. KristieAnn would like to do investigative work. And Dominic dreams about joining a SWAT team. One thing they all agree on? “When it comes to CJ, they couldn’t be at a better school,” says their father.

But wherever their children end up, Nick and Christine DeSilvio intend to continue their close ties with Norwich. “I like what Norwich stands for,” says Christine. “Everything that Norwich is about, and what they teach our kids—integrity, the same values that we have—they teach constantly.” Her husband, an admissions ambassador who has attended four or five college fairs for Norwich, chimes in, “I have probably ten times the attachment to Norwich than I ever did at [my college],” he says. “I’m serious. You feel at home. You feel comfortable. Being involved just makes us feel like part of the family.”