Robert W. Norton received an AB Degree in Economics from Princeton University in 1965, graduating with honors. He joined the Procter and Gamble Company following graduation and married his wife of 53 years, Janice. His career was quickly interrupted by the Vietnam War. He enlisted in the United State Marine Corps and attended Officers Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. Following his commissioning as a Second Lieutenant, he joined the Second Marine Air Wing in Cherry Point, North Carolina. He was subsequetly assigned to the Third Marine Air Wing in Vietnam in early 1968, and was deployed in Northern I Corps during his 13-month tour of duty. At the end of his Vietnam assignment, then Captain Norton returned to civilian life.

He joined Pfizer Inc. in their Corporate Human Resources Division in New York. This was the start of a 33-career which initially involved several assignments in the United States, before Rob, Janice and young son, Rob Jr., moved to Nairobi, Kenya where he assumed HR responsibilities for Pfizer’s Africa-Middle East Region. After five years in Africa, the family, now including 4-year-old daughter, Susan, moved to Brussels, Belgium where Rob assumed HR responsibility for Pfizer, Europe. In 1982, the Norton’s returned to the United States in New York. His career developed from there and he eventually assumed HR responsibility of Senior Vice President, Corporate HR for the company. He retired in 2004. 

He joined the Fisk University Board of Trustees in 2000. He was elected Vice Chairman and subsequently served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 2007 until May 2013.

He has served his communities and country in other significant capacities. He was an active contributor and leader in the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Schools Advisory Council for 17 years serving as its Chairman for five years. He was a board member of the International YMCA of New York, an active member for over 10 years and its chairman for five years. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Healthcare Foundation, a group focused on the treatment of infectious diseases including the HIV virus in Africa. He is a former president of his Homeowners Association in Bluffton, South Carolina, where he currently resides with his wife, Janice.