Reece, Marynell

Dyatt Reece
Year Inducted: 
Marynell Reece
  • Co-founder, co-owner, and Treasurer of Reece Construction
  • Past National Republican Committee Chairwoman from Kansas
  • KU Endowment Society Trustee Emeritus
  • 1978: honored with the Fred Ellsworth Medallion from the KU Alumni Association
  • 1993: recipient of the Distinguished Service Citation, the highest honor awarded by the University of Kansas

Marynell Dyatt graduated from the University of Kansas in 1942 with a degree in Journalism.  She herself acknowledges the extraordinary emphasis on education in her family growing up as “a little bit unusual.”  And Marynell Dyatt Reece continued this legacy through her involvement in Kansas communities and her alma mater, by serving and giving back in almost every way, including pushing her own four daughters through KU. 

Hailing from Kanorado, Kansas, Marynell Dyatt Reece was involved in Gamma Phi Beta sorority, the University Daily Kansan student newspaper, Homecoming, International Student Exchange and various other activities.  Her involvement, however, only seems to have increased once she had graduated from KU.  Partnering with her husband, Bill Reece, she started a road construction company out of Scandia, Kansas, and, together, Bill and Marynell made Reece Construction into a highly respected industry leader where Marynell served as Treasurer until she retired.  Alongside her work with the family company, Marynell engaged in various community services ranging from the local school board to United Methodist youth and women’s groups.   Marynell’s service record also reached into politics, where she has served as everything from the National Republican Committee Chairwoman from Kansas to the Republican party representative for study of political party rules at the Kennedy School of Politics at Harvard University.  Similar to these many accomplishments, Marynell has served through multiple KU support groups, the Elizabeth Miller Watkins Society, the KU Endowment as a Trustee Emeritus, Jayhawks for Higher Education lobbying state legislators on behalf of KU, and on the Advisory Council on Education as well as the Fund for the Improvement of Secondary Education.  Previously, in recognition of her service, Marynell received from KU the Fred Ellsworth Medallion in 1978 and the Distinguished Service Citation in 1993.

Sheila Frahm, Executive Director of Kansas Association of Community College Trustees writes: “Marynell is a woman of incredible integrity and loyalty; a woman who cares deeply about her family, and puts her heart and soul into things she is committed to.”  Marynell’s daughters Saralyn Reece Hardy and Jane Reece Ewy affirmed this notion in a 1984 Salina Journal article profiling their mother.  Saralyn acknowledged her mother’s support “to follow our dreams, to follow our talents,” and Jane declared: “I don’t think there’s anything she (Marynell) couldn’t do if she had the determination to do it… She was always positive about everything.” Mary J. Sullivan, CEO of Amino Brothers Company Inc. put it very well when she said: “What a role model for women of all ages.”  

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