Norman Seabrooks graduated in 1973 and was the first African American to play football for the Bulldogs. He returned to campus to speak to cadets in 2010 about how his Citadel experience it shaped him and how it motivated him to succeed in his career. He entered The Citadel at a tumultuous time in the nation’s history. The Vietnam War raged on in Southeast Asia while anti-war protests caused unrest at home, and the civil rights movement experienced some of its darkest moments with the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Throughout the South, the civil rights movement was marked by violence, unrest and the struggle for equal rights. At The Citadel, African American students also struggled at what was then an all-male and predominantly white military college in the South.
The first African American cadet, Charles Foster, graduated in 1970, the year before, Seabrooks enrolled. Amid the challenges of the times, Seabrooks distinguished himself on the gridiron. A three-year starter on the football team he earned first-team All-Southern Conference recognition in 1972 and he served as team co-captain while playing for coach Red Parker. He was inducted into The Citadel Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994. A Dean’s List history major who obtained the rank of cadet first lieutenant, Seabrooks graduated in 1973 and went on to a successful career in the health insurance industry with Aetna Inc., where he is Pacific Northwest Market President for the company.
Seabrooks began his career with Aetna as an account executive in Washington, D.C., right after graduation. He moved up Aetna’s ranks holding positions in New York and Los Angeles before moving to Seattle in 2001 to head up the company’s middle market sales and service. In 2003, he was promoted to vice president of sales and service, overseeing the middle market customer segment. As part of Aetna’s reorganization in 2010, he was selected as one of its 18 market presidents (one of two African-American employees in that role), with responsibilities for the Pacific Northwest. He is now one of the top 100 employees of this Fortune 500 company of 35,000 employees.
Seabrooks grew up in Pahokee, Fla., a small town on the shores of Lake Okeechobee in Palm Beach County. He now resides in Seattle.