The Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education selected Dr. Cheryl Joy Norton as the next president of Slippery Rock University on Thursday.
Norton will become the first female president in the history of the university when she assumes her duties on June 4.
She is replacing Dr. Robert M. Smith, who served as SRU President for eight years before his retirement in February. Dr. Charles Curry is currently serving as SRU’s acting president.
“I am honored and privileged to be named the next president of Slippery Rock University,” Norton said in a PASSHE press release. “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.”
Norton was selected by the SRU Presidential Search Committee as one of three finalists for the position, alongside Dr. Jack Maynard and Dr. David Dauwalder, recommended to the Board of Governors and the chancellor.
Joshua Young, the chair of the SRU Council of Trustees, expressed praise and confidence in the selection of Norton.
“On behalf of the entire Slippery Rock University community, I am pleased to welcome Dr. Norton as our 16th president,” Young said. “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 was president of Southern Connecticut State University, located in New Haven, Conn., for six years from 2004-2010. She was the first woman president at the 115-year-old institution that enrolled over 12,000 students at the time of her departure.
Before becoming president of SCSU, Norton gained extensive experience at Metropolitan State College of Denver, the nation’s largest urban public baccalaureate college with more than 20,000 students.
She began working in the Department of Human Performance, Sport and Leisure Studies in 1976 before becoming department chair in 1992. She concluded her 28 year career at the university with several administrative positions, becoming the interim associate dean of the School of Professional Studies in 1996 and provost and vice president for academic affairs in 1997.
Norton has recently been serving as a senior fellow with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C.
Norton preached a vision of unity and increased diversity during an open public forum when she visited SRU earlier in the semester.
She also stated hopes of lowering tuition fees within five years and improving upon campus sustainability during that forum.
PASSHE Chancellor Dr. John C. Cavanaugh praised Norton and Dr. Marcia G. Welsh, who was selected as East Stroudsburg University’s next president on Thursday was well.
“With their wide array of experience, I am certain both will be outstanding presidents,” Cavanaugh said. “They will be valuable additions to the State System and to the outstanding group of presidents already in place.”
Born and raised near Cleveland, Ohio, Norton graduated with honors from Denison University in Granville, Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and recreation.
She received master’s degrees in arts in applied psychology and education, as well as a doctorate of education in applied physiology at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York.
Norton is also an accomplished athlete, having been a nationally ranked marathon runner and even has earned a black belt and state championships in Tae Kwon Do.