25 Years of Service: Ricardo Norton
Professor of Leadership & Church Growth, Department of Practical & Applied Theology/Director, Institute of Hispanic Ministry
Talk to anyone who knows or works with Ricardo Norton, and the prevailing sentiment that is shared revolves around his sense of humor. Who among us who had our initial conversation with him didn’t feel pranked by the end of the conversation, thinking he was about to say something that was profound, only to realize that the chatter was leading to a punchline? Or to walk past him and his wife as they sit on a bench near Lake Michigan at Silver Beach, only to hear him ask, “Is that your daughter walking with you?” when he undoubtedly knows that’s your wife.
Rare are the people one encounters of whom everyone thinks and speaks positively—especially if that person holds a position of prominence or who works in the high-pressure environment of higher education. But Ricardo effortless pulls it off; and in the process he maintains an even keel. Such a gift has served his administrative assistants, teaching colleagues, and mentees well—even more so during the stressful spell known as the COVID pandemic. And if anyone could have permission to be stressed in times like these, it would be Ricardo. It could be argued that no other professor in the Seminary carries teaching and administrative roles that compare to those he carries: teaching a full load, serving as director of the Institute of Hispanic Ministries and Director of the MA in Pastoral Ministry Program (Hispanic Track), coordinator of the Doctor of Ministry Spanish cohorts, and regularly engaging in the process of training lay leaders through the Seminario Adventista de los Láicos (SAL).
Yet despite his passion for pastoral and lay training, he takes time to work out with his colleagues and treat his fellow professors to one-on-one lunch appointments—with no agenda at play other than to enjoy the fellowship and provide the space to get to know each other and their families on a personal level.
Congratulations, Ricardo, on 25 years of exemplary service to the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University and the entire world church.