World renowned photographer, videographer to speak at BHSU during Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series

Author: BHSU Communications/Friday, October 17, 2014/Categories: 2014

           World-renowned photographer and videographer Jake Norton will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Clare and Josef Meier Hall on The Black Hills State University campus. Norton will discuss finding joy and using it to fuel passion into making a positive difference in the world.  

World renowned photographer and videographer Jake Norton climbed Mount Rainier in Washington for the first time at 12 years old. The climb taught Norton the rewards of hard work and effort. Since then, he&rsquos overcome obstacles to not only reach his lifelong goals, but guide others in doing the same. Norton will guide others in using their passion to make a positive difference in the world as a speaker in the Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series.

Norton&rsquos presentation is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23 in the Clare and Josef Meier Hall on the BHSU campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Norton has reached the summit of Mount Everest three times and conquered expeditions on all seven continents. He&rsquos worked professionally on all seven continents and has had work featured by Nikon and Photo District News and in prestigious publications including Oprah, Vanity Fair and National Geographic Adventure. Norton is an athlete for Eddie Bauer and helped shoot and create the short film, "The Water Tower." Norton has been speaking professionally since 1999 to a wide audience from Fortune 500 companies to kindergarten classrooms.

Norton&rsquos presentation at BHSU will focus on creating joy in life by using a person&rsquos passion to make a positive difference in the world.

"For me, this became a necessary focus in 2009. I was standing on the summit of Everest for my third time and felt oddly hollow, devoid of emotion or inspiration," Norton said. "I knew I had lost the meaning, the joy, in my climbing and I had to get it back."

While on his search for joy in his life, Norton said he found that what he was looking for was a way to use his passion of climbing to help others.

"The concept of joy that I speak about and share is far different than its similar cousin, happiness," Norton said. "To me, happiness is the summit, a paycheck, completing a goal and checking it off the list. Happiness is about the self and rewards and simple products of our efforts.

"Joy, on the other hand, is different," he continued. "Joy is service, joy is finding purpose in our work which transcends the self, which goes beyond our own personal gain or loss, our individual and collective ambitions and desires and instead focuses on making a positive impact on outside individuals, organizations and communities."

Norton found a way to serve others through his passion of climbing with the Challenge 21 project, which he will discuss during his presentation. Challenge 21 aims to combat the world-wide issue of clean water and sanitation. Norton will climb mountains to raise awareness and funds for the Water for People project. Norton uses the climbs to tell stories of water, watersheds and how each peak he climbs is a critical part in the water story.

Norton will use images and videos from his expeditions to drive the narrative of his presentation. Some of the footage will include his 1999 climb to the summit of Mount Everest where his team found the 75-year-old remains of George Leigh Mallory.

"If a few audience members come out of my presentation inspired to follow their passions in their lives and careers and are inspired to make positive difference in our world, then I&rsquove succeeded," Norton said. "I want people to gain the understanding that we can all work to make our world a bit of a better place. It requires a change of focus, a determination to find joy in service to others. And in the end life and work become far more rewarding and inspiring when we do that."

The Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series began in 1986 through an endowment from Madeline A. Young, a 1924 BHSU alumna. The series hosts stimulating, controversial and motivational speakers at the University. Previous Madeline A. Young Speakers have included Nobel Peace Prize Winner and former Polish president Lech Walesa, actors Danny Glover and Felix Justice and former United Nations ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick.  

Upcoming speakers in the 2014-2015 series include Dr. Craig Howe and Sam Hurst on April 14, 2015. Howe and Hurst will introduce and show the film "Lakota Star Knowledge," a film which links the Greco-Roman view of constellations with the traditional Lakota culture. The film was directed by Hurst with the assistance of The Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies under the direction of Howe and with additional support from Oglala Lakota College. They will discuss the subject and making of the film, as well as conduct a Q&ampA session.

For more information on the Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series, contact Jeannie Salazar in the University Advancement Office at (605) 642-6385 or email

Number of views (599)/Comments (0)