New director announced as Norris turns 40

Lauren Caruba, Assistant Campus Editor

Following the celebration of the 40-year anniversary of Norris University Center today, the University announced the center’s new executive director.

Kelly Schaefer, current director of campus and conference centers at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, will become Norris’ new executive director Jan. 28, according to a University announcement shared with The Daily. She will succeed Amy White, who has been serving as interim executive director.

At IIT, Schaefer is responsible for overseeing a significant portion of the school’s academic, conference and multipurpose spaces. She also acted as onsite manager for auxiliary contracts and co-managed IIT’s dining and catering programs.

In the announcement, Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, assistant vice president for student auxiliary services at NU, characterized Schaefer’s time at IIT as “creative and engaging,” with annual events held in IIT’s conference centers increasing 43 percent over five years during Schaefer’s tenure.

Schaefer will also build on her experience as assistant director of student centers for DePaul University, as well as director of housing and assistant director of student services at the Illinois Institute of Art.

“These experiences (have) provided Kelly with an outstanding foundation to take our Norris University Center program further toward the realization of being full partners in the student learning experience,” Payne-Kirchmeier said in the announcement.

Schaefer will arrive at NU after numerous changes to Norris this year. An overhaul of ground floor dining options resulted in the addition of North Shore Pizza Company and Mexican restaurant Frontera Fresco, which is holding its grand opening today. Norris officials have said they are also considering introducing postal and shipping kiosks on the ground floor, and cell phone charging stations are scheduled to be installed on the floor sometime this quarter.

With the possibility of a new student center also in the conversation,Schaefer will assume her position during an important era for Norris.

“With her solid student union/student center background, experience with key professional associations, innovative perspective and focus on the student experience, Kelly will be an excellent addition to the Norris University Center family, our division and our university,” Payne-Kirchmeier said in the announcement.

— Lauren Caruba