The Third District Normal School's fourth president, Richard Chapman Norton, rejected the Board of Regents' first offer of presidency in 1877.
At that time, Norton was a professor at Warrensburg Normal School. Charles H. Dutcher, was hired in his place. When Dutcher resigned in 1880, the board again approached Norton about accepting the presidency. This time, he agreed. Norton served as president from 1880 to 1893.
He was known for his traditional ideals, which made him popular with students and faculty. Because of his genuine interest in being friends with the students, Norton was viewed as someone who was wise and faithful, and as a result, students lovingly nicknamed him Uncle Dick.
Uncle Dick was characterized as upright and earnest. During his 13-year term, he set out to place the school on a "firm" and "solid" basis. He was dedicated to strengthening the Southeast Normal School system, and he devoted more than 25 years of his life to the Normal School institution.
This information is excerpted from the article "Past and Present Presidents" appearing in The Southeast Missourian on April 4, 1999.