Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, Chad Norton ’82 was the first in his family to attend college. “We didn’t have a lot of money,” recalls Chad, “but my parents sacrificed and saved.”
With his parents’ help and encouragement, along with a Cal Grant and other financial aid, Norton earned his degree in political science and philosophy. He also participated in the debate program and held leadership positions in the Associated Students of University of Redlands and Alpha Gamma Nu fraternity. “Even though I was an only child,” says Chad, “Redlands made me feel like I had a family of brothers and sisters.”
Chad’s wife, Renee Norton, attended a different college, but she also recognizes the familial nature of the University of Redlands. “The intimate size of Redlands always resonated with me,” she says. “So, I immediately felt comfortable on campus.”
His Bulldog family continued to help Chad after graduation. One of his classmates told him of a customer service opening at Capital Group Companies, a financial services firm where he was to have a successful 34-year career. On the way to his first interview, Chad was pulled over for speeding, but was let off with a warning after the officer, a fellow alumnus, spotted the Redlands and Gamma Nu stickers on his car. “Redlands got me in the door and out of a ticket,” Chad says gratefully. He went on to enjoy three distinct careers at Capital Group, retiring in 2016 as a vice president of investment operations.
Chad has remained actively involved with his alma mater, serving as president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors (during which time he also served on the Board of Trustees) and volunteering on the Forever Yours Campaign Leadership Committee and for his class reunion.
“It was clear the University was a pivotal time in Chad’s life,” observes Renee, who works as director of regional operations for Starbucks Corporation. “I also enjoyed meeting so many amazing people, and I know he is setting a positive example for our two girls with his service.”
The Nortons recently established the Maria L. and Robert L. Norton Endowed Scholarship at the University in honor of Chad’s parents. “Now there will always be a piece of them at Redlands, which gave me a physical home for four years and an emotional home for more than three decades,” says Chad.
Additionally, Chad and Renee have set up a matching challenge for the upcoming Giving Day on April 4. “We want alumni to ask themselves, ‘What was it about Redlands that was special for me?’” Chad says. “Whatever it was, it didn’t just happen—someone helped to make it happen. Everyone can make a difference on Giving Day.”