Page 26

President Norton earns accolades for accomplishments FRANK BROGAN

the needs of the University. It will be one of her greatest legacies, and I hope we will see her at the dedication.

Chancellor Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education When I think of the quintessential university president, I think of Cheryl Norton. Her bold leadership; sense of mission and personal commitment on behalf of the students, faculty and staff of Slippery Rock University are evident in every decision she makes. A few years ago, she sat alongside me during the annual budget hearings in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and ‘wowed’ them with her ability to navigate incredibly thorny issues. We are losing an amazing leader and a remarkable person as she prepares to enjoy her wellearned retirement.


Member, Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees I first met Cheryl at a dinner party. She told us of her early days as a pioneer female competing in marathon running, which was then considered a male sport. We also shared a mutual love of dogs and, in fact, she and Henry had raised Alaskan sled dogs. When I was given the opportunity to serve on her council at Slippery Rock University, I jumped at the chance. I had served on academic boards in the past, including Westminster College, University of Pittsburgh and Clarion University, and thought I could be helpful to a new president. As it turned out, she needed very little help. She approached the job with intelligence, energy and humor. She tackled a large project, the new Performing Arts Center, which was largely planned before she arrived, and was able to reconfigure the project to fit the budget and


Vice President for Finance, Administrative Affairs and Advancement Services I have worked at four institutions of higher education in the past 30 years and served with nine presidents. I can say that Dr. Norton has been, by far, the most ethical public servant. In working with the assistant vice presidents in my division, they have mentioned that Dr. Norton will not only be remembered as SRU’s first female president but also as compassionate and kind, and a studentcentered leader who transformed the University during a very tumultuous time in higher education in Pennsylvania.


Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs President Norton has embodied the SRU vision of excelling as a caring community of lifelong learners connecting with the world throughout her five-year tenure. She has striven to make SRU excellent on all fronts – including academics, student development and finances. She has put students at the center and promoted diversity, inclusion and civility on campus. She has pushed for increased learning opportunities beyond the baccalaureate level. She has advocated for experiential learning, especially international study. She has publicized SRU to external stakeholders to advance our reputation and increase our resources. No small wonder SRU is the envy of its peers.

" When I think of the quintessential university president, I think of Cheryl Norton." – Frank Brogan, Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education chancellor

26 The ROCK

The Nortons with former Rock and current NFL offensive lineman Brandon Fusco at his SRU number retirement ceremony in 2016.

As I have said to others, ‘If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?,’” she said. Norton also oversaw the 2015 yearlong celebration of SRU’s 125th anniversary, marking the community’s founding of the Normal School at Slippery Rock. The 1889 founding was celebrated with a myriad of campus events, including a fundraising gala, founders’ picnic, special homecoming events, a student showcase extravaganza and the sealing of a time capsule, among other festivities recalling SRU’s history. While president, Norton had opportunities to travel extensively – including countless, four-hour, 250-mile drives to PASSHE headquarters in Harrisburg, which she quickly came to dislike. “For me,” she said, “there were only two types of travel I enjoyed. One, traveling nationally to visit with alumni and strengthen those ties with people who have gone before while updating them on the current activities of the institution; the second was international travel under­ taken to develop new partnerships. In terms of our national travel, it has been essential for me to listen to alumni, hear their stories and understand what SRU means to them, especially in terms of career development. I have gained a wonderful appreciation of their lifelong devotion to this school. They are indeed ‘Rock Solid’ graduates. They are an amazing group of people who contribute not only to their

“Our alumni certainly

epitomize what an education can do, how it changes lives, and how education can be the factor that makes all the difference in who a person becomes.”

Rock Magazine Summer 2017  
Rock Magazine Summer 2017