Retired professor Augustus Richard Norton died Wednesday at the age of 72. Norton was a professor at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies and taught at BU for decades before retiring in May 2017.
Adil Najam, the inaugural dean of Pardee, said that Norton was admired by both his students and colleagues.
“He will be remembered by his students as someone who gave his all inside the classroom,” Najam said. “He took the job of being a professor very seriously and the responsibility of it very seriously.”
Najam said that when he came to BU in the 1990s, Norton was already a senior professor here. He and Norton got to know each other well, Najam said.
“His office happened to be right next to mine, so we interacted a lot, and I was in the same department with a lot of the same intellectual interests,” Najam said. “He was both a friend, a colleague and in many ways a mentor.”
Houchang Chehabi, a professor in Pardee, said that he also had a long, close working relationship with Norton.
“We were colleagues for close to 20 years,” Chehabi said. “We went to talks together, we had dinners with job candidates and so on, and I held him in the highest respect.”
Norton’s specialty in international relations was the Middle East, and he published influential writing on issues in Lebanon, Chehabi said.
“He was a very distinguished scholar of the Middle East, in particular Lebanon,” Chehabi said. “I think some of his articles are seminal pieces on our knowledge of Lebanon.”
Chehabi said Norton was held in high regards in many circles, including fellow colleagues, teachers and officials in the U.S. government.
“He was very well-regarded in Washington, and he was also a perfect gentleman,” Chehabi said. “[He was a] popular teacher and well respected by everybody.”
Najam said that Norton was a role model for everyone in his department, specifically through his dedication to the job.
“He was a colleague who I think we all admired for his integrity and his principles,” Najam said. “And that’s really important in a university because it’s governed by faculty, so in that sense he was a role model.”