College’s chief financial officer heading to Tulane
MIDDLEBURY — After 13 years as chief financial officer and head of operations at Middlebury College, Patrick Norton has accepted the position of chief operating officer at Tulane University in New Orleans. Norton has been an active member of both the Middlebury College and town communities, serving as a long-time member of the Porter Medical Center board.
Laurie L. Patton, president of Middlebury College, announced Norton’s departure in late May to college faculty and staff, thanking him for his contributions over the years.
Since beginning in July 2003, Norton has overseen the college’s financial organization through two presidents and one of the worst recessions the nation has seen since the Great Depression.
When the recession hit, Middlebury College, along with the rest of the country, was forced to re-examine its financial plan. Despite some budget cuts, the college emerged relatively unscathed.
“We were appropriately measured during the recession and we maintained balanced budgets, and sustained our commitment to academic quality, need-blind admissions and without resorting to layoffs,” Norton said. “This was a community effort in true Middlebury fashion.”
Over his 13 years, the college’s net assets have grown by $500 million to over $1 billion, allowing it to develop programs within the college and abroad, including the acquisition of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Norton will remain at the college until August, at which point a search for his successor will begin. In the interim, Mike Thomas, associate vice president for finance and assistant treasurer, will assume the role of vice president for finance.
In this position, Thomas will continue to work with Norton, then his successor, to help lead the finance organization as the college implements “Envisioning Middlebury,” a process to “develop a new set of strategic directions,” according to Thomas.
“This year and into next, faculty, staff, students and alumni will have numerous opportunities to contribute to that plan and to drive what a future Middlebury might look like,” Thomas said.
Norton said he has confidence in the college as it works to maintain long-term financial sustainability within this process.
“There is a reasonable and measured plan to achieve this goal by growing our core revenue appropriately and controlling the growth in costs throughout the institution,” he said.
In his new position at Tulane, Norton will oversee a division of more than 650 employees across a range of departments. He will also work closely with Tulane President Michael Fitts and his cabinet in the allocation and oversight of the University’s $850 million operating budget.
“In many ways it’s the same scope of responsibilities I maintained at Middlebury, just on a larger scale,” he said.
Norton spent his first 10 years out of college working at the New York University Medical Center in healthcare financing and accounting; at Tulane he will have the opportunity to work in healthcare finance again.
Tulane boasts the second-oldest medical school in the deep South, the Tulane School of Medicine, which works in partnership with the Tulane Medical Center.
“This is a little like going home,” Norton said of the work he will be doing.
Norton, his wife, Valerie, and their two sons, Hunter and Travis, will move to New Orleans together.
“(We’re) excited at the prospect of living in a city with all a city has to offer, especially a vibrant city like New Orleans, which has made an amazing recovery after Hurricane Katrina,” he said. “But after living and working for 13 years in Middlebury and Vermont, our leaving is bittersweet. We will always have deep ties and fond memories of our time here.”
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