VP Norman Black confident in school’s vision, honored at farewell for his service

Written by: 
Gosuke Kawano

A farewell event for BYU-Hawaii Vice President Norman Black and his wife, Linda, was held in the Aloha Center on May 15, giving students and faculty the opportunity to express their gratitude for the Black’s service to the university.

In their decision to come to BYUH, Norman and Linda Black said they followed promptings of the Spirit. He said, “A lot of people do that to work here. We’ve tried to make things better and bring in some of the experiences that I had from corporate and government work, and we were able to make some changes.”

Vice President Black said he looks forward to seeing the growth of the university from a spectator point of view. “We want to see the student body increase, the ability of the I-WORK program to continue to expand… and get better living conditions for all of the students.” He also said plans for a new science building and cafeteria are currently in the works.

Students and faculty said Norman Black has contributed to several changes at BYUH, including the construction of the new Hales; during his time here, the number of on-campus dormitory buildings increased from six to 10.

Jordin Manco, a junior from Washington studying exercise and sports science, said she feels grateful for “the excellent work and services” he has done for the university and community. She said, “He made a huge impact. I know he is one of the people that’s behind the new infrastructure that’s happening.”

Manco said Black played an important role in the planning of a new Food Services building, including a revamp of the Seasider. An employee of Food Services, she added, “We desperately needed an update. With his help, he made it happen.”

Elder Cliff Riley, a senior missionary from Utah who has been involved in the construction projects, said, “He’s very supportive. I love him. He’s very helpful and supportive in everything we try to do.”

Faculty members also said they felt the influence of Black, not only as an administrator but also as a person.

Perry Christensen, associate professor in the Department of English Language Teaching, said he likes the characteristics Norman Black possesses.

“He made a good influence, and [he is] calming and peaceful. I loved working with him and I have seen him in the stake presidency and across campus. He’s always friendly, says ‘hello’ to me, and he’s easy to talk to. [He’s] nice, open, friendly, and humble.”

Jim Lee, dean of the Business Department, said, “Brother Black has done a lot of things here. He began his time here as the director of Enterprise Information Systems. I think he did a great job getting different systems organized that are still used throughout the university.

“He had the responsibility of a lot of different areas. I think his foremost [characteristic] was to always treat people fairly. Also, he’s confident in all of the areas where he worked and knew what he was doing. His background of military gave him a big array of experiences that allowed him to manage very effectively.”

According to the BYUH Newsroom, Norman Black served as an officer in the Air Force and “led hundreds of military and civilian professionals in various organizations.”  

Norman said he felt joy in seeing the changes in the lives of students and alumni of the university. “As we traveled through different areas, we met alumni and [faculty], and saw the changes that they have made when they returned home [and] changes within the church, and the things they do. It’s amazing!

“We realized that from this university we are really touching millions of people because of the thousands that come here. It’s like when you go on a mission, you baptize somebody and they go and baptize, and [the church] just grows. That happens here at this university.”

In regards to those he worked with, Black said the staff “gives everything they have to be here to teach and support the learning efforts of the students.” He also counseled students to take every opportunity given to them at the university and play afterwards. Linda Black added, “Enjoy the spirit of Aloha that is really here.”

Although the replacement for Black is unknown, he said a “search committee” is underway to find someone to fill the position. Christensen said the replacement should be someone who is “easy to work with, humble… and [does] what Heavenly Father wants them to do, not what they want to do.”

Reflecting on his experiences in Hawaii, Norman said the transition is a very bitter-sweet moment. “We are happy to be going back home. We left [home] in 1983, and we’re going to get closer to our family, to our children, and grandchildren. But we love this place, and this school has been a blessing. We’ve really enjoyed being here.”

Linda Black agreed with her husband, “It is an amazing place. It has such amazing people and a loving feeling.”

The farewell event had various foods such as pulled-pork sandwiches, cookies, and pineapple salsa with chips provided by Catering from Food Services.

Date Published: 
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Last Edited: 
Tuesday, May 23, 2017