Board & Staff

Photo of Diane Norman with a bike, bike helmet, and sunglasses in front of a lake.

Diane Elaine Norman
Board Member

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Diane grew up with the advantage of a mother who loved the arts and a father who believed in education. Her hometown, enriched by great museums, orchestras, and Cranbrook, where Henry Moore left his magnificent colossal sculptures, also served as a catalyst for her lifelong arts advocacy. Diane graduated with a BA from Vassar College, an MA from Indiana University and a PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder, all in related areas of Russian and Soviet Studies. While at IU, she spent two summers of language study and travel in the then Soviet Union just before the fall of Khrushchev…and had no clue it was imminent. No social networks then!

Diane met her husband, Arlan, while he was getting his PhD at IU. They were married while he was a post-doc in Chemistry at UC-Berkeley and went as newlyweds to Boulder, where he joined the faculty, became Professor and  Chair of the Chemistry Department and later Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to earning her Ph.D. at CU, Diane also switched fields to Engineering and computer science. Throughout, Diane has maintained a lifelong love affair with Russian literature and music and musicians—Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich in particular.

The Normans came to Bellingham from Boulder, when Arlie was offered the opportunity to establish Western Washington University’s new College of Sciences and Technology. With the move, Diane left her job as Head of Operations in Information Technology for Finance and Administration at the National Center for Atmospheric Research after 25 years in the field. Freshly arrived in 2004 she joined the Board of the Bellingham Festival of Music. Except for a two year break in 2010-2012, she has remained a stalwart on the Board, serving as Chair and member of the Grants, Auction, Outreach and Fundraising committees. For most summers the Normans have hosted Festival musicians in their home, most recently Christian Colberg and Amy Taylor. Diane also served three terms on the Board of the City Club of Bellingham and in Boulder on the Graduate School Advisory Board for the University of Colorado and on boards for the Boulder Valley School District.  Avid bike travelers they were about to embark on their trip to Iceland during Covid in August 2021 when Arlie suddenly suffered a brain aneurysm . The July 10, 2023 BFM concert is dedicated to Arlie’s memory.

Diane has two adult children: daughter, Hilary Benson, a UC Berkeley graduate in economics now living in Seattle and working in PR with WE Communications and  Microsoft in Bellevue and son, Geoffrey, a Brigadier General in the US Army and a graduate of West Point, now working at the Detroit Arsenal. Between the two families the Normans have five grandsons.