Norval D. Reece has had three distinct careers. First, he was a full-time civil rights and peace advocate in the '60s, including two years with the American Friends Service Committee in India that included organizing work camps for international students from the University of Delhi. Two of those work camps were for Tibetan refugees in the Himalayan foothills of North India where he had a private audience with the Dalai Lama. After returning to the U.S., he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., opposed the Vietnam War, and managed political campaigns. The next phase of Norval’s career was in politics and government. He ran for the United States Senate and served as Special Assistant to the Governor and Secretary of Commerce for Pennsylvania. He capped off his career as a cable TV executive and international entrepreneur.
Born into a Midwestern Quaker family, Norval has served as clerk of his Friends Meeting and on the boards of numerous Quaker organizations, schools, and colleges. ESR has benefited from Norval’s leadership through his service on the Board of Advisors, including time as chair. He has spoken at several of ESR’s Leadership Conferences and says, “I am a strong believer in the need for Quaker outreach, growth, and leadership. ESR provides the tools and environment to develop our Quaker leaders of tomorrow.”
Norval, his wife, and siblings established the Glenn A. and Velma Reece Scholarship at ESR to recognize his parents’ lifelong ministries, interest in young people, and dedication to Quaker leadership needs.
Norval studied theology at Yale University and thought he might pursue a life in academia before being diverted by civil rights and anti-Vietnam War activism. Throughout the various twists and turns of his multiple careers, Norval’s beliefs and actions have remained firmly rooted in Quakerism. He believes The Religious Society of Friends has been a remarkable force for good in the world and that ESR is critical to its future flourishing. “Quakerism needs the schooled leadership from ESR to help it prosper, and ESR needs Quakerism’s astoundingly rich history, revolutionary theological constructs, and seamless connection to service and all of life.”