George W. Norton, professor of agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2011 Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Academic Advising.

Established by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Academic Advising is presented annually by the Office of the Provost to Virginia Tech faculty members who have been particularly dedicated and effective while advising graduate students. Recipients, who may be nominated by university faculty members or students, are selected by a committee of former award winners, receive a $2,000 prize, and are inducted into the university’s Academy of Advising Excellence.

Norton has been a dedicated graduate student advisor for 30 years. Currently, he has six graduate advisees, and over his career, he has served as major professor for 63 graduate students, 47 master’s degree students, and 16 Ph.D. students. All of his advisees have been supported with research assistantships from his research grants.

In addition, he has secured funds to send 34 students abroad to collect research data for their theses and dissertations for periods ranging from two weeks to one year.

Most of Norton’s students have published journal articles — as the senior author — as a result of their theses. Three of his advisees won the annual best thesis award from the American Agricultural Economics Association for their research, and one won an award from the International Association of Agricultural Economists. Several of his students have gone on to take faculty positions or have become researchers at international institutions.

“Students find Dr. Norton very approachable for professional or personal advice,” said colleague Jeffrey Alwang, professor of agricultural and applied economics. “Former advisees have told us that he was their model for advising and other professional activities after leaving Virginia Tech. He challenges students, but is known as a compassionate advisor who instills confidence in them.”

Norton received his bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.