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St. Philip's College Library

MLK Campus: 210-486-2330
Location: Center for Learning Resources (CLR)

SWC Campus: 210-486-7023
Location: Building 1-C123



Community Engaged:…

The successful adult son of a revered former St. Philip's College administrator Clarence Norris, who followed in his father's footsteps in many ways is featured by the nation’s most widely read alt-weekly, with well over 3 million active users.
Clarence Norris

Community Engaged: Educator, Son of a St. Philip's College Dean Emeritus, Trusse Norris

The successful adult son of a revered former St. Philip's College administrator who followed in his father's footsteps in many ways is featured by the nation’s most widely read alt-weekly, with well over 3 million active users.

The A-plus educator is Trusse Norris, adult son of SPC Dean Emeritus Clarence Norris. Trusse Norris continued his college education at USC while employed as a player in such pro football contests as the first AFL Championship game (1960) and as an actor in such films as John Ford's Sergeant Rutledge (1960), the JFK story PT 109 (1963) and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972). Trusse Norris’ journey is featured in the Sept. 15 LA Weekly report by writer Matthew Kredell An Original L.A. Charger Looks Back at His Only NFL Season and the Team's Only in L.A., Until Now.

An enduring element of the SPC experience occurs when students personally learn the journeys college employees---and their adult children---have taken to achieve their experiences. Halfway across the nation from the SPC campus, Trusse Norris is sharing his experiences with prospective college students and inspiring them to take the next steps in their academic journeys.

According to the LA Weekly report, " “It took seven years for Norris to get his bachelor's degree in physical education, which he attributes to the lack of preparation he received attending a segregated high school in San Antonio… He persisted because of the importance of education in his family. His father, Dr. Clarence W. Norris Sr., rose from a Houston ghetto to earn bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Michigan before completing his Ph.D. at USC in 1951. He was a sociology professor and dean at the historically black St. Philip's College in San Antonio, where there is a building named in his honor. Trusse's mother, Lucille, was a teacher who graduated from Howard University in 1925. Trusse's brother, Clarence Jr., also got a doctorate in education at USC, working as a professor and dean at L.A. Harbor College… Trusse spent 36 years at the Los Angeles Unified School District, mostly as an administrator, at one point working as assistant principal at West Valley Occupational Center before settling in with the office of government relations as an analyst of legislative matters affecting the district. ”

Norris has enjoyed a lifetime of giving back in the South and West Central areas of Los Angeles that includes joining the nonprofit interdenominational Organization of West Adams Christian Athletics in 1963 as a coach---the year after he worked in the film PT 109---and serving as its current president. According to the report, “ "It consists of four teams, each represented by a local church, comprised of boys age 14 to 18. “It's just something to involve kids so they don't have idle time,” Norris says. “Something with a little supervision and control to help them make it through those teenage years.” "

In an Institute of Texan Cultures oral history provided by SPC librarian/archivist Becca Barnard, it is noted that Trusse Norris' father Clarence was highly recommended in math and played high school football, dislocating his shoulder during the third day of practice---without pads---at The University of Michigan, but continuing on to achieve academic, family and professional success through hard work, eventually working on the leadership team of Saint and SPC President Emeritus Artemisia Bowden. Clarence Norris returned to USC seven times to finish his doctorate degree, an inspiring story for current SPC students who balance work, family and circumstances in order to achieve their fair share of the rewards associated with a college education.

The LA Weekly report on Trusse Norris coincides with the start of student planning for involvement in the college's Norris Residence Project that is a work in progress to provide a destination that helps to tell the stories of the education business and social progress in San Antonio. In 2016, the Alamo College District Trustees approved acceptance of the restricted donation of the former home of Dr. Norris at 1426 Gibbs St. near the SPC campus and built in 1925. The residence has significant costs of maintenance and of renovation for exclusive use as a public facility of historic interest, however as a training aid project for construction technology students at St. Philip’s College after permits are acquired and the building foundation is professionally restored, the 92-year-old house offers great value as a hands-on training aid, from project management to construction by students. Ironically, SPC construction technology students met Sept. 16---one day after the LA Weekly report was published---to examine how they might lead their potential element of the archival restoration of the former Norris family home for these purposes. Read more about Trusse Norris and his family at the report

CAPTION: Clarence Norris (University of Michigan Library Online -