Paine College to Host a Memorial Service for Silas Norman, Jr., M.D.

Posted by painewebmaster | 10/15/2015 12:15 PM

Paine College will host a memorial service for Silas Norman Jr., M.D., on Friday, October 23, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. at Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel on the Paine College campus. Dr. Norman died in the early morning hours of July 17, 2015. He was 74. Dr. Norman was appointed to the Paine College Board of Trustees in 2009 and later elected Chairman of the Board until he vacated the position in 2014. The public is invited to attend the memorial service. 

A 1962 graduate of Paine College and a longtime member of the faculty, Norman served as the president of the Paine College National Alumni Association. As a student, he was president of the Paine College student body, head of the Student Non-violent Steering Committee, and the chairman of the NAACP statewide student chapter. When students decided to boycott buses in Augusta, Norman led the student movement in Georgia. He was the first one to set foot on a segregated bus and was among five students who were arrested. He and the other students filed a lawsuit against the City of Augusta and the bus company. They won the lawsuit and, as a result, segregated buses were outlawed in Augusta and in the state of Georgia.

While attending Paine, in addition to being a scholar, Norman was also a student-athlete. He played the position of center on the Paine College football team. In May 2015, during Paine College Alumni Reunion Weekend, Norman was inducted into the Paine College Athletics Hall of Fame. 

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in natural sciences from Paine College, Norman entered Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, MI as a medical student, graduating in 1976. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Detroit General Hospital. 

Dr. Norman was engaged in every aspect of WSU School of Medicine life. An assistant professor of Internal Medicine at WSU, Norman was appointed assistant dean for Admissions in 2003 and associate dean for Admissions, Diversity, and Inclusion in 2010. 

Medicine was Dr. Norman's ministry; whether providing care to prisoners, the underserved and uninsured, or expanding opportunities in medicine for underrepresented people, he always cared beyond himself. He was an outstanding leader, physician, mentor, and friend, beloved by many.

Dr. Norman served as a consultant to the Detroit Health Care for the Homeless project and the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion, working to see that thousands of uninsured and underserved people received much-needed health care. He was chair of the Detroit-based Community Health Awareness Group Inc., an organization dedicated to supporting individuals affected and infected with HIV and AIDS. His commitment to social and humanistic medicine also led him to serve as the chief medical officer for the Michigan Department of Corrections and medical director for the Wayne County Jails. A medical suite at the State Prison of Southern Michigan in Jackson, MI is named after Dr. Norman. 

He was the recipient of many awards and honors throughout his illustrious career, including being named a recipient of the WSU School of Medicine's Trailblazer Award in 2010. This distinguished award honors outstanding alumni and faculty who have made substantial contributions and demonstrated courage, initiative, innovation, risk-taking, and leadership. In 2011, during the commencement ceremony, Dr. Norman received the WSU School of Medicine's Distinguished Service Award for having served the school with distinction for more than 25 years and for being a driving force for diversity, fairness, and compassion for the underserved. 

Dr. Norman was reserved about such recognition. "To be honored for the service that we give is a distinct privilege and an honor. I think the opportunity to do this work is really a privilege. The community has a right to expect us to give some service," he said upon receiving one of his many recognitions. 

Dr. Norman lived a life dedicated to social justice and worked endlessly to ensure basic human rights for all persons, especially those individuals who did not have a voice. He lived modestly, avoiding a typical doctor's lifestyle and gave generously to the institutions and causes in which he believed. Dr. Samuel Sullivan, current interim president of Paine College noted that, "Dr. Norman's unwavering dedication to his profession and community presents a 'service above self' model for all of us to emulate and aspire to. At Paine College, we honor his legacy by continuing to prepare students for meaningful careers and community engagement."

Dr. Norman loved music, the arts, and traveling. Anyone who had the good fortune to hear Dr. Norman sing knew that he had a voice that rolled like thunder. He lent his musical talent to Detroit's critically-acclaimed Brazeal Dennard Chorale which won gold and silver medals at the 2012 World Choir Games.

About Paine College

Paine College sits on 64 acres located in the heart of Augusta, Georgia. The Mission of Paine College, a church-related private institution, is to provide a liberal arts education of the highest quality that emphasizes academic excellence, ethical and spiritual values, social responsibility, and personal development to prepare men and women for positions of leadership and service in the African American community, the nation, and the world.