HARRISBURG, PA, - Dr. Cheryl Joy Norton, a senior fellow with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C., and former president of Southern Connecticut State University, was selected today by the board of governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to serve as the next president of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.
Norton, who was appointed at the conclusion of a national search, will assume her new duties June 4. She will succeed Robert M. Smith, who retired in February. Charles Curry currently is serving as SRU’s acting president.
“Dr. Norton has outstanding credentials and an excellent record as an academic leader,” said Board of Governors Chair Guido M. Pichini. “We are confident she will continue that record as she assumes the leadership of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania during these extremely challenging times.”
Dr. Norton was named president of Southern Connecticut State in 2004 and served in the position for six years. She was the first woman president in the university’s 115-year history. Following her presidency, she completed a year-long sabbatical researching how university teacher preparation programs could support public school education reform.
“Dr. Norton has a wide array of experiences that caused her to stand out among an impressive collection of candidates for the SRU presidency,” said PASSHE Chancellor Dr. John Cavanaugh. “I am certain she will be an outstanding president for Slippery Rock and that she will be a valuable addition to the State System and to the outstanding group of presidents already in place.”
Norton said she looks forward to leading Slippery Rock University into a bright future.
“I am honored and privileged to be named the next president of Slippery Rock University,” she said. “Slippery Rock not only is a caring community of scholars, but also an educational leader that provides academic programs of excellence supporting the growth and development of its students and the region. I am extremely proud to be associated with a faculty and staff committed to this educational vision.”
“On behalf of the entire Slippery Rock University community, I am pleased to welcome Dr. Norton as our 16th president,” said Joshua Young, chair of the SRU Council of Trustees. “I am excited for Dr. Norton’s leadership and I am excited for the future of Slippery Rock University. Her exemplary accomplishments in higher education will serve the university, PASSHE and the Commonwealth well as we move forward in fulfilling our mission.”
Norton grew up in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated with honors from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and recreation. There she was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa academic honorary. Norton also holds three degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York; a master of arts in applied physiology and both a master of education and a doctor of education in applied physiology. She has completed additional studies at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.
Upon graduation from Denison University, Norton worked for nearly two years in the Psychiatric Recreational Therapy unit at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, including one year as director of the recreational therapy department. She began working at Metropolitan State College of Denver in 1976 in the department of human performance, sport and leisure studies where she became a tenured professor. She was named department chair in 1992, interim associate dean of the School of Professional Studies in 1996 and provost and vice president for academic affairs in 1997.
During her tenure as president of Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Norton led the development of the university’s strategic plan, directed a $260 million building plan and revision of the campus master plan and led the Connecticut State University System’s development of a transfer compact agreement with Connecticut’s community college system. She supported a complete revision of the university’s general education program, increased the use of campus technology, secured the university’s first- ever endowed chair and increased the university’s philanthropic support for scholarships and academic program enhancement by more than 67 percent. During her tenure as president, Southern Connecticut experienced record full-time enrollment, graduation and retention rates.
Norton has published a number of books, manuals and journal articles and made numerous presentations at national conferences. She also has served on a variety of national advisory boards and commissions, including the NCAA Division II President’s Council. For her contributions to the field of sports medicine, including serving as president of state and regional professional organizations, she was elected a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.
She also has been involved in numerous local community organizations in Connecticut, including the New Haven Regional Leadership Council, New Haven Symphony Orchestra and United Way.
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1889 as Slippery Rock Normal School. It enrolls more than 8,700 students and offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and 20 graduate programs including a doctorate in physical therapy.