Sierra Nevada College

Rick Normington

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of beloved SNC Professor Rick Normington.

As a professor, Rick touched the lives of countless students. He informed, coached, inspired and pushed them to accomplish their biggest goals. Rick once said: “If I look at the accomplishments in my whole life, I’d have to say that the differences that I’ve made in the lives of students are the most rewarding.” The long list of teaching awards he earned here, including Distinguished Advising (2009), Distinguished Teaching (2010), and Student Government Association Faculty of the Year (2010), attest to his excellence in the classroom.

“He was, quite simply, the best. (I was) honored to have even known him.”

Scott Kiernan, Class of 2013

Rick was a full-time faculty member at Sierra Nevada College from 2006 to 2014, and continued teaching online courses after his retirement. He served as the Dean of Business, and as the Dean of Continuing and Online Education. As the Harold Walter Siebens Entrepreneurship Chair at SNC Tahoe, Rick revamped the entrepreneurship curriculum and quadrupled enrollment in the major. In 2012, the Sierra Nevada college Board of Trustees granted him an honorary doctorate. In 2014, his faculty colleagues demonstrated their deep respect for him by awarding him the rank of Associate Professor and Professor Emeritus.

“The world has another angel. Rick Normington was an incredible friend and mentor.”

Kendra Wong, SNC Business Department Chair, Associate Professor – Business

Rick was a passionate educator fully committed to hands-on learning. He established the Jale and Warren Trepp Business Plan Competition on the SNC campus, where he coached many SNC teams to success in the Nevada Governor’s Cup and Tri-State Business Plan competitions. His dedicated and effective coaching earned him the 2011 Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology Faculty Advisor Special Recognition Award.

“Rick was amazing, smart, sharp-witted and kind. Excellent teacher and colleague.”

Julie Foster, former SNC staff

Rick Normington came to Sierra Nevada College after over 30 years in the telecommunications industry, where he retired as the Vice President of the Public Sector and Education Markets with Pacific Bell and SBC (now AT&T). He was instrumental in bringing virtual private networking (VPN) to business communications, which greatly improved the ability of major companies to work and communicate remotely. He was also an early advocate for bringing technology into education. In the 1990s, Normington managed a statewide initiative that connected 7,000 California schools and libraries to the Internet.

Despite his business achievements, Professor Normington identified himself as a teacher first and foremost. He inspired his students and colleagues, not only with his successes, but with his strength and determination in the face of adversity. After he was diagnosed with ALS in 2007, he continued to teach, coach, and contribute despite physical hurdles. Continuing to use what Rick taught us to impact the world in a positive way, can become our ongoing tribute to a life lived selflessly in service of a greater good. In the face of this loss, we take comfort in Rick’s own words:

“Every student I can assist to have a more fulfilling life, well, that is something that will live on and have an impact after I can’t teach anymore.”


A Celebration of Life and Reception for Rick Normington will be held
Thursday, January 18th, 11am
St. Clement’s Episcopal Church
2376 Zinfandel Dr.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

In lieu of flowers, it was Rick’s wish that donations be made in his name to:
– the ALS Association
– the COSMOS (California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science) program at the University of California, Davis
– or the charity of your choice