GEORGE E. NORCROSS, III serves as Executive Chairman of Conner Strong & Buckelew, one of the nation’s 30 largest insurance, risk management and employee benefits brokerage and consulting firms. Norcross has been the head of Conner Strong & Buckelew and predecessor companies since founding the firm in 1979 in a basement office in Camden, New Jersey.
Norcross also serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Cooper Health System, Cooper University Hospital, and MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, all in Camden, NJ. He has served as a Trustee of Cooper University Hospital since 1990. Under this leadership, Cooper has grown into a top-tier tertiary academic medical center and is the only state-designated Level 1 Trauma Center in South Jersey. Annually, nearly two million patients visit Cooper’s 750-plus physicians practicing in 75 specialties at more than 100 convenient medical offices and three urgent care centers. As Chair, Norcross led Cooper as it launched the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, the first new medical school in New Jersey in 30 years and opened the MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.
Norcross has won wide praise for his leadership of Cooper and has been repeatedly named one of New Jersey’s top healthcare leaders by NJBiz, recognized as one of New Jersey’s Top Influencers in New Jersey Biotech by BioNJ, Trustee of the Year by the New Jersey Hospital Association, and Trustee of the Year by the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals. For his leadership in creating of Cooper’s Veterans VIP Priority Program, Norcross was awarded the prestigious Seven Seals Award given by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Employer Support for National Guard and Reserves. In, 2009 Norcross accepted the Susan G. Komen Beacon of Hope Award on behalf of Cooper University Hospital/Cooper Cancer Institute.
Norcross serves as chair of The Cooper Gala, which is one of the largest single event charity fundraisers in the greater Philadelphia-South Jersey area each year and has raised over $16 million to benefit Cooper University Health Care, including $1.8 million in 2020. In addition to supporting The Cooper Foundation, in 2011, Norcross committed $5 million to Cooper. It was the first commitment in a $50 million capital campaign to help fund the rapid expansion of one of New Jersey’s preeminent academic medical centers.
In addition to his role in making Cooper a regional healthcare leader, Norcross has been recognized for his personal philanthropy and support of the larger South Jersey community, especially the City of Camden. Conner Strong & Buckelew, working with Norcross’s family foundation, focuses its charitable efforts on improving education for youth, funding research to help cure diseases, supporting the arts and culture, improving the community’s safety, and helping people with disabilities. Conner Strong & Buckelew was a founding sponsor of a $1 million grant program for Camden City based non-profit organizations committed to making Camden a healthier place to live, work, learn and play.
As part of his leadership role in Camden, Norcross serves as a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for the Camden Community Partnership, a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to planning and implementing high-quality urban redevelopment projects to revitalize the City of Camden. To increase employment among Camden residents, Norcross led the creation and funding of Camden Works, along with NAACP, Latin America Economic Development Association, Center for Family Services, Hopeworks and Camden County Workforce Investment Board.
Through the Norcross Foundation and in conjunction with The Cooper Foundation and in partnership with the non-profit TEAM Schools of New Jersey, Norcross led development of the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy which delivers world-class public education to 3,000 children, grades K-12, in Camden. A KIPP Cooper Norcross High School opened in the fall of 2020.
In partnership with AmeriHealth New Jersey, the Cooper Foundation and the Norcross Foundation founded and provided $1 million to create the Camden Health and Athletic Association (CHAA) in order to expand youth sports programs and health initiatives in the City of Camden. Since its kickoff, CHAA has helped more than 1,000 Camden children participate in more than 30 sports programs across Camden.
Norcross has been a long-time benefactor of the Larc School in New Jersey, a special education school for children with disabilities, and he and his family were recognized for their commitment at the school’s 50th anniversary in 2018. His involvement includes serving as Chairman of the Cooper Norcross Run the Bridge, the largest 10K run in the tri-state area and the Larc School’s most significant fundraising event. Through the Run and other initiatives, Larc School has been the beneficiary of over $5 million in fundraising dollars.
Norcross has been widely recognized for his leadership and contributions to the community. A student of history who has visited almost every presidential museum, with his family, Norcross purchased a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence in 2021, which is being lent to the National Park Service to be displayed at Independence National Historical Park as an ongoing part of the Liberty Bell Center exhibit. It will also be displayed at Cooper Hospital.
He was named a 2020 “Champion of the C-Suite” by ROI-NJ for “making the impossible possible” and the 2018 Business Leader of the Year by the LeBow College of Business at Drexel University for his successes as a business and community leader. In 2015, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey awarded Norcross and his family the Haas Regional Champion Medal for their commitment to the United Way’s mission and embodying the entrepreneurial spirit of the legendary philanthropist, John Haas. In 2013, Norcross was honored by the New Jersey March of Dimes at the organization’s Born to Shine Gala and has been honored by Chabad Lubavitch, awarded the Annual Champion of Children Award by the Camden Children’s Garden and the Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund for his philanthropic and community leadership.
Norcross also serves on the Board of Directors for the Coriell Institute for Medical Research and Holtec International, a global leader in power generation technologies. He was on the Board of Directors for Delta Risk, a firm that provides high impact cybersecurity and risk management services to government and private sector clients worldwide. Formerly, he served on the Board of Directors of Commerce Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:CBH) and as Lead Director of the $7.8 billion sale of the bank to TD Bank Financial Group. Norcross was Chairman and majority shareholder of U.S. Vision, a large national retailer of optical products and services, which he later sold. In 2012, Norcross and other local business and civic leaders purchased Interstate General Media (IGM), the parent company of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com, the region’s largest and most popular online news source. In 2014, Norcross sold his shares to the minority owners.
Norcross has two adult children.