Neil Norton, Ph.D. joined the Creighton dental faculty in 1996 and most recently served as associate dean for admissions and a professor in the Department of Oral Biology. He taught classes in gross anatomy, head and neck anatomy, human neuroscience and pain control.
Beloved and respected by students and peers alike, Norton was the recipient of more than 25 teaching awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Teaching Achievement, presented by the Creighton Students Union, the University’s highest teaching award; the GlaxoSmithKline Sensodyne Teaching Award, the highest national award of the American Dental Education Association; and the Stephen H. Leeper Award for Teaching Excellence from the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Supreme Chapter. He was also selected for Teacher of the Year recognition by dental school classes on numerous occasions.
In 2013, alumni from the School of Dentistry Class of 2004 established the Dr. Neil Norton Endowed Scholarship Fund to recognize Dr. Norton’s professional expertise and passion for teaching and to assist qualified dental students, particularly second-year students who have an interest in anatomical science.
A longtime member of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA), he served as the 17th president of the organization from 2015 to 2017 and chaired or served on numerous AACA committees. In 2020, the AACA honored Norton with the R. Benton Adkins Jr. Distinguished Service Award.
Among his significant contributions to the profession, Norton was the author of Netter’s Head & Neck Anatomy for Dentistry, a concise and visual guide to clinically relevant anatomy for dentistry, which has been translated into nine languages and is currently in its third edition.
At Creighton, Norton served as president of the University Faculty from 2006 to 2010 and two terms as secretary of the All-University Faculty Council. He also chaired the University Committee on Rank and Tenure and the Committee on Committees; assisted with the University’s COVID-19 response, as a representative on the Pandemic Response and Oversight Team; and was an honorary member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society.
Named the Jaybacker of the Year in 2019, Norton was an ardent supporter of Creighton Athletics and served as the University’s NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative, working with the BIG EAST Conference, including terms as chair and secretary, and, prior to that, the Missouri Valley Conference. He also was selected by the NCAA to serve on its Postgraduate Scholarship Committee and Honors Committee, and was a member of an advisory search committee that assisted in the hiring of current McCormick Endowed Athletic Director Marcus Blossom in 2021.
Neil died Sunday, Nov. 27, in Omaha after an extended battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57. He is survived by his brother John.
Memorial Mass Saturday, 9:00am at St. John Catholic Church on the Creighton Campus.