Kay Norton is President of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where she has lived for more than three decades. She is a vocal advocate for public higher education and for building strong and sustainable university-community relationships. During her tenure as President, the university received the prestigious Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Preparation and Monfort College of Business became the first and only business college to earn the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Also during her presidency, the Bears moved to Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the University Symphony Orchestra and Jazz band were both repeatedly named best in the nation.
A graduate of Wellesley College and the University of Denver College of Law, President Norton says her college experience taught her “how to think and question.” She values the personal relationships and individualized experiences she gained, both inside and outside the classroom. She is proud that UNC offers its students that same kind of personal experience and attributes each student’s success to a devoted and highly qualified faculty. “We are not a mega-school, we are a place that makes education personal,” (2008 State of the University Address).
Before coming to UNC, President Norton practiced law for over 20 years, in both government and private business settings. She was appointed to the UNC Board of Trustees in 1995 and served as vice chair until 1998, when she joined the university’s staff as Vice President for University Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Trustees. In 2002, she was named UNC’s first female president. She serves on the board of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the AASCU Commission on Presidential Leadership and Global Competitiveness, the Systems Transformation Subcommittee of the Governor’s P-20 Council, and the boards of directors for StarTek Inc., Upstate Colorado Economic Development, the Greeley Downtown Development Authority, Getsmart Schools and the International Student Exchange Program. She is a member of the University of Denver Issues Panel on Immigration.
President Norton and her older brother were raised in Oklahoma by parents that encouraged academic achievement. She and her husband of more than 30 years have raised five children in Greeley. They enjoy the authenticity and friendliness of the people in their community and are proud that UNC is an active part of Greeley’s culture and commerce. President Norton enjoys gardening, reading, exercise and travel.