Cheryl H. Norton ’71

B.A., Denison University, 1971
M.A./M.Ed./D.Ed., Teachers College of Columbia University, 1974/1976/1977

Southern Connecticut State University
New Haven, CT

Citation awarded June, 2011

After a long and successful career in higher education administration, Cheryl is on a terminal sabbatical from Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). Her sabbatical research on K-12 education reform continues a life-long interest in the field.

When she came to SCSU in 2004 as the university’s 10th president—and the 1st woman to hold the post—she took on a 12,000+ student body and one of the largest graduate programs in New England. Her accomplishments include a $260 million construction program that revitalized the campus, full-time enrollment that reached record levels, an innovative program to support student achievement in and out of the classroom and the greening of the campus (for which she signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment). She worked to position SCSU as a community resource for the region and the state through initiatives such as the university’s new Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, established to improve the educational experience of children diagnosed with a form of autism.

Cheryl holds two masters degrees and a doctorate in applied physiology and was named a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine for her contributions to the field of exercise physiology. She was nationally ranked as a marathoner, earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, raced a dog-sled team for 10 years, refereed soccer games, and wrote a bestselling book on how to play racquetball in publication now for more than 25 years. She began her career in higher education at Hunter College in New York City, and spent 25 years at Metropolitan State College of Denver, the last six as Provost. Metropolitan State is the nation’s largest urban public baccalaureate college (20,000+ students).

Cheryl earned a Lilly Award for her achievements in and contributions to higher education, the Connecticut Women in Leadership award in 2008, from the Women and Family Center, and the “Woman of Note” award by the New Haven Symphony for her “steadfast vision, exceptional contribution and enduring commitment to our community.” She serves on the NCAA Division II President’s Council.Cheryl’s husband and both sons are also Denisonians, and she has volunteered as a career advisor.

We honor Cheryl Norton ’71 for her inspired imagination, the tenacity with which she brings each project alive and her unceasing efforts to re-vision K-12 education.