"In a world full of vanilla, he was Rocky Road"

Ken-teaching-in-the-fieldBeyond his accomplishments as a researcher, teacher, and leader, Professor Norris inspired his students with his warm heart and child-like zeal. Deemed the "Professor of Wonderment" in a 1977 article written by Annie Gottlieb, he had a remarkable ability to connect with each of his students on an authentic human-to-human level. 

The following are just a few of many student impressions of Professor Norris:

"In a world full of vanilla he was Rocky Road. He was sweet and he was lumpy and he was full of nutty surprises. And without him, everything is a little blander." --Shannon M. Brownlee

"He virtually created the field [of cetology] in the United States . . .This cuddly exterior of his was wrapped around a truly rigorous scientist." --William F. Perrin

"He was so many things to so many people. But I think the thing that impressed me most, that I'll take with me more than anything else was his heart." --Donald J. Usner

"Ken taught with love. But [half] of loving somebody [is] getting out of their way. So he would set up the situation that gave the students a sense of trust enough so that they could open themselves up to test out being creative. . . Then he got out of their way." --Lawrence D. Ford

“Ken Norris has been described as “an extraordinarily kind, warm and generous human being” and “a man that said yes to making things happen.” He was unsurpassed as a teacher and legendary for his ability to inspire and bring out the best in his students. He had an inherent curiosity. Under his friendly, disarming exterior was a truly rigorous, creative, and innovative scientist.” --William T. Doyle and Susan Rumsey