City, seat (1907) of Cleveland county, central Oklahoma, U.S. The city is located on the South Canadian River, immediately southeast of Oklahoma City. Beginning as a tent city in April 1889 when Oklahoma was opened to white settlement, it was named for Aubrey Norman, a Santa Fe Railway surveyor. The city's development was assured when the University of Oklahoma was established there in 1890 on land donated by its citizens.
A marketing and distribution point for an extensive agricultural area, the city also has some light industry; there are oil and gas wells in the vicinity. The Central Oklahoma Community Mental Health Center and the nearby Tinker Air Force Base are additional economic assets. The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History on the university campus houses some five million artifacts pertaining to the region's environmental and human history. The National Severe Storms Laboratory, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is headquartered in Norman.