TWC Announces Retirement of President Chris Norton

March 24, 2021 The Washington Center

The Washington Center Announces Retirement of President Chris Norton

Norton, the third president in the organization’s 46-year history, to step down by year’s end 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Christopher Norton, president of The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC), formally announced today his decision to retire by the end of the 2021 calendar year. Combining his service as member of the board of trustees and president, Norton has been part of TWC leadership for 18 years. During this time, he presided over noteworthy expansions of the executive team, and in staffing and programming, as well as milestones, such as TWC’s 45th anniversary in 2020. 

Norton’s impact is evident across the organization, its college and internship site partners, and its alumni. He leaves behind an extensive legacy, which includes:  

  • Instituting a new operational model focused on functional alignment, quality and impact 
  • Modernizing TWC’s digital recruitment model to meet the needs of students seeking to become the young professionals of the 21st century workforce  
  • Surpassing TWC’s milestone of 400 U.S. partner-affiliated schools and reaching a landmark of over 60,000 alumni 
  • Achieving an annual cohort comprised of 30% first generation students and 40% from diverse backgrounds thru the 2019 academic year 
  • Stewarding the organization through the tumultuous COVID-19 pandemic and developing the TWC virtual internship program to address the ‘new normal’ 
  • Formalizing a School of Record partnership with Elon University that will award credit to students from non-affiliated colleges and universities 

Like his predecessors before him, Chris leaves behind an indelible legacy of inspiration, innovation and achievement. TWC will seek to build on his leadership example as we approach our 50th anniversary in 2025 and beyond.

Dr. Susan C. Pannullo, chair of The Washington Center Board of Trustees

“On behalf of the entire TWC family of staff, partners and alumni, I want to thank Chris Norton for his extraordinary 18 years of service,” said Dr. Susan C. Pannullo, chair of the board of trustees. “I joined the board a few years after Chris, and his commitment to this organization has been a joy to behold up close. Like his predecessors before him, Chris leaves behind an indelible legacy of inspiration, innovation and achievement. TWC will seek to build on his leadership example as we approach our 50th anniversary in 2025 and beyond.”  

Norton originally joined TWC through his appointment to the board of trustees in 2003. He served as co-chair of the Development Committee and Comprehensive campaign where his celebrated career in finance helped him lead a fundraising campaign that exceeded its $15 million goal. He went on to assume the vice chair role of the Executive Committee and then chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. In 2016, he succeeded Michael Smith and TWC’s late-founder, William (Bill) Burke, to become the third president of TWC. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of my time with the TWC staff and the remarkable work we have accomplished,” said Chris Norton, president, The Washington Center. “Experiential education, and indeed the world, has changed dramatically in the nearly two decades I have enjoyed here. We have always put our students at the forefront of our endeavors and I am confident TWC will continue to innovate and explore new strategies to serve them and the needs of a 21st century workforce. Spending this time with such an incredible organization and its talented people has had a profound impact on my life. I look forward to cheering TWC and our alumni on from my retirement.” 

Norton and his wife Carter are the parents of five children, including a TWC alumna.  

TWC will launch a national search, assisted by AGB Search, for its next president. Nominations and expressions of interest can be sent to Dr. Rod McDavis, Managing Principal, at rod.mcdavis@agbsearch.com or to Dr. Melissa Trotta, Associate Managing Principal, at melissa.trotta@agbsearch.com. The next president will inherit an organization dedicated to continuing its leadership in experiential learning and transformative educational experiences.   

About the Author

The Washington Center

The Washington Center is the largest and most established student internship program in Washington, D.C. Since our founding, we've helped more than 60,000 young people translate their college majors into career paths. We use our scale and expertise to customize each student’s experience to be truly transformative.

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