Norm Wilkinson, Executive Director of Business School Programs, joined WPI in 1995. As an expert in our programs, Norm worked diligently with our faculty and staff to ensure that our program offerings were exceptional and responded to the demands of students seeking to integrate business acumen with technological prowess. However, it was Norm’s work with our students that made him truly exceptional. For years, Norm met with dozens of students each term, advising them on the effectiveness of their studies, listening to their concerns, and always serving as an advocate who sought out the best for each student. Because of his relationships with students, Norm was instrumental in supporting those facing difficult challenges – mental health, family issues, school issues, etc. – and played an important role in helping them find the professional resources they needed. Our students have come to know and rely on Norm, and he has been, to many, the face of The Business School.
Norm has expanded across divisions and departments to benefit our students. Hundreds of students have committed to earning a Master of Science in Management because of Norm’s influence, and to that end, the ‘BS in Anything/MS in Management’ has become one of our biggest programs graduate business school. His persuasion had nothing to do with wanting to develop a graduate program, but rather everything to do with wanting students to leave WPI with the best possible credentials. He worked personally with each student taking this path to show them how they could complete their higher education even as undergraduates. Norm made it a point to understand the student so that he could help him achieve his ultimate goals and success.
This passion for our students was also evident in his service as an Insight Advisor. For more than a decade, Norm served, devoting much time to students during term A and B despite the added demands at the start of the academic year. He developed lasting relationships with first-year advisors, and they sought out his mentorship throughout their time at WPI. He personified forward-thinking service, meeting with students during normal office hours and then tackling his important administrative responsibilities late into the evening. Her commitment to our students became even more pronounced when her family moved to York, ME during the pandemic. Nonetheless, he made the trip to WPI several days a week just to engage with students. One of his team members commented: “Despite his busy schedule, Norm was always willing to spend as much time as needed meeting and advising students. He genuinely cared about them and their experience at WPI, both academically and outside of the classroom.
Our school has grown and is recognized as one of the best business schools in the country, which is a tribute to our faculty, our staff, and yes, Norm, because of the success of our programs. But what kept Norm committed to this work were the students. He noted that the best thing we could give our students was confidence – confidence in themselves. Norm has had the privilege of watching the students he has advocated for – whether they are from Mumbai, Shanghai, Tokyo or wherever he has traveled on behalf of WPI – flourish in their new lives. in the USA. It was his greatest reward. In his words, “Helping my shy, quiet freshmen grow into strong campus leaders gave me energy.” Norm has been energized on behalf of our students for 27 years.
Norm will retire from WPI on July 1, 2022. In many ways he has been the backbone of the Business School and as such will leave a huge hole in the hearts of so many who have relied on Norm . His sustained dedication and selfless commitment to others has made WPI better in ways we cannot begin to measure. So, on behalf of a grateful WPI community, we simply end by saying “Thank you Norm!” We wish you the best in this next chapter.