Arlene Nora was born in 1938, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her mother emigrated from Holland when she was seventeen and settled in Edison. Her father emigrated from London, England. During World War I, he served in the U.S. military in Europe, where he was wounded. Her parents raised their eight children in Highland Park, and her father worked at Rutgers in facilities and maintenance. Growing up in Highland Park, Ms. Nora attended Irving School and Highland Park High School. Ms. Nora spent her career working at Rutgers University, in the offices of the Football Hall of Fame, Graduate Admissions, and the Institute for Research on Women (IRW). She and her husband raised their family in North Brunswick.