Oct. 6, 2011
CLEMSON, SC — When a teenaged Mitch Norville pondered what he should study at Clemson University, it was his dad’s advice that tipped the scales in favor of engineering. Now, 35 years later, the son’s gift to his alma mater will endow an engineering chair in his father’s honor.
A $1.5 million gift from Mitch and Carla Norville will be used in part to endow the Ernest R. Norville Endowed Chair in Biomedical Engineering. A portion of the gift, $250,000, will be used to help build a new basketball practice facility adjacent to Littlejohn Coliseum.
“This enlightened investment will have a lasting legacy,” said Clemson President James F. Barker. “The Norville Endowed Chair in Biomedical Engineering will improve medical care and help generations of undergraduate and graduate students at Clemson, and the addition to Littlejohn Coliseum will be a big boost for our team and will help our recruiting.”
Norville is executive vice president and chief operating officer for Boston Properties Inc., one of the nation’s largest owners, managers and developers of Class-A office properties, concentrated in five markets: Boston; Washington, D.C.; Midtown Manhattan; San Francisco; and Princeton, N.J.
The Norvilles’ gift is a part of Clemson’s The Will to Lead capital campaign, which seeks to raise $600 million to support students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.
“To be successful in any business, you have to be a team player and be willing to work with others, but at the same time you have to have a will to lead,” Norville said. “Successful leadership in a university is no different. Carla and I are glad to be able to be a part of helping Clemson rise to meet the challenge for the next generation.”
Norville’s current role with Boston Properties places him in charge of administrative policy and day-to-day control of the company’s operations and development activities. Since joining the firm in 1984, he has been involved with more than 7.5 million square feet of new development and renovation projects.
A 1980 graduate of Clemson’s mechanical engineering program, Norville earned a Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Virginia in 1984. He was named to the board of the Clemson University Foundation in 2009 and serves on Clemson’s Advancement Board for Real Estate Development.
“As a volunteer for Clemson, no one is better prepared than Mitch Norville. His business knowledge is second to none, and his advice has been exceptionally valuable,” Barker said. “No one has a clearer understanding of our university’s financial need, nor of the opportunities that are within our grasp with a successful capital campaign.”
The Norvilles, who grew up together in Charleston, are energetic volunteers. A former College of Charleston student, Carla is active in The Wellesley Service League, a group that provides volunteer services to 27 different organizations in Massachusetts, from food banks to support for cancer patients. She was chairwoman for the Barton Road Boys, which provides hot lunches and activities to children in the subsidized housing community.
The university will recruit a scholar in the field of biomaterials science and engineering to fill the Ernest R. Norville Endowed Chair in Biomedical Engineering. Biomedical engineering focuses on applying engineering principles to the understanding and treatment of disease. Bioengineers collaborate with physicians and entrepreneurs to ensure that research focuses on high-priority health care challenges. Clemson’s bioengineering program began in 1963, making it one of the oldest in the world.
The planned basketball practice facility will include Clemson’s first regulation-size practice court, coaches’ offices, a gallery and a film room, and will allow greater flexibility in practice times. The addition will allow the Tigers to have “real-game” experience on the full-sized court in day-to-day practice, as do their ACC competitors.
The Norvilles live in Wellesley Hills, Mass. They have three sons: Griffith, Hunter and Taylor, who graduated from Clemson in 2010 with a civil engineering degree.
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