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Kenneth E. Norris was born in 1903 in Perth, Ontario. He graduated from McGill University with a bachelor of arts degree in 1929. Following further studies in psychology at McGill, he received a Ph.D. in psychology and education in 1939. His doctoral thesis is entitled The Permanence of School Learning as Indicated by a Study of Unemployed Men.
He joined the Montreal YMCA staff in 1926 as an executive secretary and first arrived at Sir George Williams College in 1929 as registrar and bursar. In 1935, he was appointed principal; he held this position until his retirement in 1956, when he was named principal emeritus. He was the author of the book The Three R's and the Adult Learner: The Survival of Learning in the Basic School Subjects among Unemployed Men, published by McGill University in 1940.
In 1948 he coordinated the securing of university status for the college, and in 1956 he saw years of hard work rewarded with the opening of a large new building for Sir George Williams University. He died in 1957, at the age of 54.