Norm Hall: His Journey To Becoming The President Of Simpson University

“I think The Lord does the rest of the work, a lot of times. We come to our salvation freely, we know that. What a gift. We work out the gifts of our salvation by serving others every day, and when we do that well, the dollars come in.” -Dr. Norm Hall

Our guest tonight is Dr. Norm Hall, President of Simpson University.

Over the course of my career, I’ve had the privilege of leading president searches for 35 colleges, universities, and seminaries.  Simpson University was one of these.

When the board retained us, Simpson was going through some difficult times.  We knew it was going to take someone who was up for a huge challenge to be successful at Simpson.

Amazingly, the search drew a very strong pool of candidates.  There were three sitting presidents along with a couple of deans, and then there was Dr. Norm Hall, who had been Dean of Students earlier in his career, but at this time, was serving as the Vice President of International and Alumni Affairs at Greenville University.

I was present for all of the interviews and I saw the Search Committee’s response to each candidate.  After Dr. Hall was interviewed, it was obvious that he was going to be a finalist—and a very strong finalist at that.

I hope you enjoy my conversation with Dr. Hall as he discusses his journey to becoming the President of Simpson University.

Thanks again for listening to Next Gen Nonprofit Leadership with Tommy Thomas and be sure to share this episode with the nonprofit board members and collegiate leadership members you know.  And don’t forget to leave us a review wherever you’re listening.  It really helps us!


“You just have to do the job the very best that you can and look for God’s blessing when you go home at night…You have to be absolutely sure—good, bad, or indifferent—you gave your very best.” –Dr. Norm Hall

Show Notes

[2:52] – We’re introduced to Dr. Norm Hall, President of Simpson University, and we learn how he first got into higher education.  

[5:41] – Dr. Norm eventually ended up at Azusa Pacific University.

[6:52] – Was Dr. Norm surprised to receive a call from Tommy asking to be a president?

[9:10] – Dr. Norm reveals what he was feeling when he wasn’t originally offered a position before Tommy called.

[10:50] – Some of the highlights of student development that distinctively prepared Dr. Norm for the presidency, according to Dr. Norm.

[12:43] – What drew Dr. Norm to the challenges Simpson University was facing?

[14:13] –This is how Dr. Norm put together the team to address the specific challenges they faced at Simpson.

[16:09] – We learn about the “rubric” Dr. Norm used with his team to accomplish goals and celebrate victories.

[18:41] – Dr. Norm believes the accreditation agency is looking for self-awareness.

[20:21] – How did Dr. Norm become a fundraiser?

[23:30] – Dr. Norm shares with us the biggest surprise being a university president.

[25:22] – This is what goes through Dr. Norm’s mind when giving someone a second chance.

[28:19] – The biggest difference between reporting to the president versus reporting to the board of trustees, in Dr. Norm’s opinion.

[31:25] – The advice that Dr. Norm wishes someone told him earlier in his career.

[33:33] – Dr. Norm taught Critical Thinking in a maximum-security prison and he reveals if he was nervous while teaching there.

[34:54] – Dr. Norm’s parting words to aspiring leaders.

[37:51] – Tommy wraps up the conversation.

“No margin, no mission. If you’re an aspiring leader and you don’t know what that means, you better figure that one out.” -Dr. Norm Hall

Links and Resources

JobfitMatters – Website


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