Alumni Stories

Norfolk State alumni are passionate and driven leaders, prompting worldwide change in industries such as business, public policy, healthcare and the arts. The stories below show the impact of an education at NSU. Read about Spartans making their mark within their communities and abroad.


Phil Thornton, '03


At 43, entrepreneur, music industry executive and television producer Phil Thornton ’03 has the resume that many people decades older could only dream of. And he’s far from finished. The Hampton Roads native’s accomplishments are due, in part, to an early start. At age 5, he started a bookmark business with his cousin, making and selling bookmarks with cartoon characters for a nickel. He knew at age 10 that he wanted to be involved with the entertainment business, and by the time he was 12, he was an intern at local radio station WOWI-FM. At 15, Thornton interned with Arista Records, working with Notorious BIG, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin. 

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Glenna Hawkins Moore, '74

Glenna Hawkins Moore is a changemaker. She hails from a family of changemakers. She fits into two categories of changemakers: the social driver, dedicated to the progress of a group of people, usually marginalized groups, and the activist: who leads movements against oppression and systemic injustices. A Norfolk State College (now Norfolk State University) alumna, she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1974. Moore continued her education at Virginia Tech obtaining a master’s degree in Urban Affairs in 1976.

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Otis Jones, '83


Otis Jones ’83 comes from a long line of watermen. The Northern Neck native grew up in a family where his great-grandfather, grandfather, father and uncles spent their lives working on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries oystering, crabbing and fishing for menhaden. Although Jones took his career down a different path, he keeps his connection to the water through his service on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Board of Trustees. After five years on the board, serving in several capacities, in January 2023, he was elected chair.

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700 Park Avenue Norfolk VA 23504 · 757-823-8600