David E. Reese

David E. Reese, 1962

B.A., Denison University
M.B.A., Harvard University

Citation awarded May, 2002

David E. Reese, class of 1962, has led a distinguished career in banking and communications that he combined with a lifelong commitment to civic service and philanthropy. After serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy and earning his M.B.A at Harvard University, he started his career in banking with Citicorp in New York City, moving in 1969 to Columbus, Ohio, where he joined State Savings Bank. Over the years, David and his colleagues led State Savings Bank to record growth at a time when other thrifts were facing the very severe challenges, ultimately merging State Savings with Fifth Third Bancorp in 1998. In 1977, David and his family moved to Arizona, where he continued his career in banking as well as building Sundance Broadcasting, a radio communications company that was sold in the 1990s. David recently retired as chairman of Fifth Third Bank, Southwest.

While living in New York, David became involved with “A Better Chance” and the Wedleigh Scholars Program, both of which are minority scholarship programs that provide preparatory school educations to underprivileged students. As a result, hundreds have benefited from higher education. When he moved to Columbus, David established a chapter of “A Better Chance” in the city. In Columbus, he also became a leader in Planned Parenthood, the Buckeye Boys’ Ranch, and the Columbus Urban League.

After relocating to Arizona, David continued his involvement with charitable and civic programs in Prescott, and, ultimately, Phoenix. In Prescott, he founded Camp Enterprise, a Rotary International-based education camp extolling the virtues of the free enterprise system to high school seniors. Since relocating to Phoenix, David has taken a major interest in the United Way. Realizing that an organization thrives when leadership sets the pace, he sought to recruit new members for the United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society, its alliance of major contributors. As a result, the group of six members grew to its current membership of over 200. David currently serves on the board of the Phoenix United Way Foundation. In addition, he has served the Phoenix area through a number of other boards, including the Heard Museum, the Goldwater Institute, the Lodestar Foundation, and Phoenix Country Day School. He also served as chair of the Arizona chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization.

David’s leadership and philanthropy have extended to his alma mater, as well. He has participated in almost every area of volunteer service to Denison, including the Annual Fund, career advising, his Reunion Class Fund, the Alumni Council (member-at-large, 1970-73), the Campaign for Denison (Phoenix city chair, 1994-94), and the Arizona Alumni Club (president, 1987-94).

David and his wife, Weezie, make their home in Phoenix. They are the parents of two grown sons. Several of David’s relatives also are Denisonians, including his sister, Thekla Reese Shakelford ’56, and his brother-in-law, Donald B. Shackelford ’54.