Drug Dealer Turned University Graduate Inspires
“It’s always possible to pursue your dreams.”
The encouraging words came from former drug dealer-turned-Columbia University graduate, David Norman.
At 67, the Harlem-bred hustler was the oldest undergrad in class. The age gap didn’t phase him though.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Norman stated, “I had a rapport with the young people because they always amazed me.”
Norman’s extensive rap sheet includes drug trafficking, robbery and a 35-year drinking addiction that led to a stint with heroin use. While incarcerated, the lights dimmed on his past activities and his interests transformed into a love for books, learning Hebrew and running a program that taught life skills to fellow inmates who would soon be making their return to society.
Now that he’s clean and focused, Norman is on a clearer high centered on education, which awarded him a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the prestigious Columbia University.
Next up on Norman’s to-do list is his work as an outreach employee at Mount Vernon hospital. In this role, he will offer substance abusers access services designed to help them overcome addiction.
*Photo: New York Daily News