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George E. Norcross III (born 1956) is an insurance executive, community leader, philanthropist and a Democratic Party leader in New Jersey.
Norcross currently serves as Executive Chairman of Conner Strong & Buckelew, a national insurance brokerage and employee benefits consulting firm based in Marlton, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Cooper Health System and Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, and has served as a Trustee since 1990. He led the effort to create the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, the first new medical school in New Jersey in 30 years and to partner with the nationally renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center to create the MD Anderson Cooper Cancer Center.
Norcross has been a prominent political leader in New Jersey for over 25 years, since he became chairman of the Camden County Democratic Committee in 1989, a position he held until 1993. For many years, he has been named as one of the most powerful non-elected political figures in New Jersey by the website PolitickerNJ.com. He is a member of the Democratic National Committee.
Norcross was born in 1956 to George E. Norcross, Jr., the president of the AFL-CIO Central Labor Union of Camden and Gloucester Counties and his wife, Anne Carol. George Norcross, Jr. was was active in the community of Camden and a board member of Cooper University Hospital. He served on the board of and chairman of United Way.
Norcross III graduated from Pennsauken High School and briefly attended Rutgers University. He has three brothers, Donald, a state senator representing New Jersey's 5th Legislative District and a business agent for the electricians union, Philip, managing partner of the law firm Parker McCay and John, an author and professor of Psychology at the University of Scranton.
Norcross has two children, Lexie and Alex, and resides in Cherry Hill, New Jersey with his wife Sandy.
Cooper University Health System
Norcross is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Cooper University Health System and Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey and has served as a Trustee since 1990. Norcross transformed Cooper into a top-tier tertiary academic medical center and launched the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, the first new medical school in New Jersey in 30 years. New Jersey Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts praised Cooper for its “unflagging commitment to the city.” Norcross was a driving force behind the MD Anderson Cooper Cancer Center which opened in October, 2013. “I've come to see that Cooper's interests and Camden’s interests are inseparable”, Norcross added. Cooper University Hospital funded two parks in Camden which the hospital agreed to take care of for 20 years. At the Cooper Commons groundbreaking, Norcross announced that Cooper was pledging $500 million of restorations and renovations to Cooper Plaza, the Camden neighborhood that includes the hospital. Norcross enlisted South Jersey native Kelly Ripa to become a spokeswoman for Cooper in 2005. Norcross is a longtime family friend of the Live With Regis and Kelly co-host's father Joseph Ripa, a veteran Camden County Freeholder.
Norcross has been a major benefactor of The Cooper Foundation. Most recently, The Cooper Foundation, with the support of the Norcross family, in partnership with the non-profit TEAM Schools of New Jersey, announced plans to create the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy, New Jersey's first "renaissance school", in Camden. On June 17, 2014, Cooper announced its “Veterans VIP Priority” program. The new program, announced in the wake of the national Veterans Administration scandal, will provide same-day service to area vets, among other benefits. Norcross and his wife Sandy serve as co-chairs of The Cooper Gala, which is the largest fundraising event each year and has raised over $6 million to benefit Cooper University Hospital. In 2011, Sandy and George Norcross announced a $5 million pledge to Cooper University Hospital.
Norcross promoted the Opportunity Scholarship Act which would allow students in underperforming schools the chance to attend better public or private schools and receive a voucher toward scholarship. Plans were submitted in December 2012 for the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy, which is scheduled to open in fall 2014 with kindergarten and pre-K programs, then add a grade per year.
In February 2012, he penned an op-ed in the Cherry Hill Courier Post called for the merger of Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden, positing it could be a “catalyst for the kind of renaissance that could make South Jersey an epicenter of intellectual and economic success for decades. It’s up to us to seize this chance.” In June that year, the state approved the partnership.
Norcross was a leading proponent of reorganizing the police department and tripling the number of police on the street on the street. The countywide police force for which Norcross advocated would require disbanding the Camden Police Department. It would allow more police officers on the ground by not inheriting pension and benefit costs paid by the city, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Camden Police Department was eliminated and a Camden County Police Department was formed in May 2013. As reported by the Associated Press, after the change over, crime began to drop dramatically: “crime in every major category except for arson — which held steady — was down from Jan. 1 to March 31 compared with the same period last year.” The Star-Ledger reported that crime was down 30% in the first quarter of 2014. and the Inquirer wrote “Crime plummets in Camden in 1st quarter” of 2014.
- Courier-Post October 23, 2009
- Philadelphia Inquirer, November 1, 2008
- Philadelphia Inquirer, January 17, 2013
- Partnership of Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden, nj.com; accessed November 16, 2014.
- Camden crime rate, huffingtonpost.com, April 28, 2014.
- Crime in Camden drops 30% in 1st quarter of year, nj.com; accessed November 16, 2014.
- "Camden city recovery could be underway", philly.com; accessed November 16, 2014.
- Murphy, Brian P. (July 1, 2002). Senatorial suspense on the CBT and arena. PoliticsNJ.com
- Riley, Clint (May 21, 2003) Fast-Growing Commerce Bancorp Counts On Political Ties. Hackensack Record
- Engle,Bob & McClure, Sandy (2008), The Soprano State: New Jersey's Culture of Corruption, St. Martin's Press, New York.
- Rys, Richard (May 15, 2006) They Have No Choice. Philadelphia Magazine