Cheryl H. Norton ’71

B.A., Denison University
M.A., M.Ed., D.Ed., Teachers College of Columbia University

President
Southern Connecticut State University
New Haven, Conn.

Citation awarded June, 2011

After a long and successful career in higher education administration, Cheryl Norton 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 Cheryl came to SCSU in 2004 as the university’s 10th president, the first woman to hold the post, she took on a 12,000-strong student body and one of the largest graduate programs in New England. Her accomplishments include the $260 million construction program that revitalized the campus, full-time enrollment reaching record levels, an innovative program to support student achievement in and out of the classroom, and the greening of the campus, after signing onto 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, with more than 20,000 students, is the nation’s largest urban public baccalaureate college.

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 & 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.