The District Governor Award for Rotarian of the Year is presented to Don Norton. He is a Rotarian who has gone above and beyond and has proven to be extraordinary in his service above self.  This is a new award this Rotary year that will serve to honor one individual who has exhibited these attributes.  Congratulations Don! 

Don Norton enjoys transforming communities and improving people’s lives through Rotary. He has just completed his second term as President of the Rotary Club of Brookings, South Dakota, where he is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow. He serves as the Grants Chair in District 5610. He has been a Rotarian for 26 years.

Don also helps build the leadership capacity of communities across the state as CEO of the South Dakota Agricultural and Rural Leadership Program (SDARL), focusing on developing the skills, knowledge, and character of leaders through training seminars.

Don’s background is in education and communication. He taught more than 20 communication courses at the college and university level, and has received four Associated Press News Awards for broadcast journalism, including as a news anchor/reporter at WGN Radio in Chicago. He has a Master of Arts Degree in Communication from Western Illinois University, and is certified in Non-Profit Management from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He is a Maxwell Leadership certified trainer, speaker and coach.

Prior to joining SDARL, Don directed the leadership programming and served as CEO of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program. He has led leadership classes to China, India, Japan, Panama, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Scotland, and held leadership seminar meetings in Russia and Ukraine.

Don and his wife, Kay (the District 5610 Public Image Chair), have two grown sons. They enjoy singing special programs at retirement and nursing homes, and carry on a Brookings tradition with the Hopeful Spirit Chorale, a group that lifts up the spirts of the homebound and those in hospice.