Dancers Have Led a Well-Choreographed Life
Travel adventures, advanced academic degrees, and living abroad make up Norman Glick’s vast stores of knowledge and repartee. The former MC economics professor learned important lessons from what he calls “a full life”: from his upbringing in a working-class family in 1940s Brooklyn, hitchhiking cross country through the Grand Canyon, serving in the Korean War, studying dance at Julliard, and his years as a U.S. State Department attaché. But the stories he treasures most center on his wife, Yoko.
“I’ve had 60 years with this great woman,” Glick says, from the comfort of their home in Silver Spring, Maryland. Glick, a retired international economist, commercial counselor, and adjunct professor, met Yoko, a ballet dancer, in Japan in 1954. He was 23 and had taken an Army transfer from Korea following the armistice.
“She was an artist,” he says. “She was what I dreamed of being. In Japan, she was very well known. When La Scala toured with the opera, Aida, in Japan, she performed with them. When she came to New York, she performed on Broadway and then around the country. Had she gone back to Japan, she would have been famous. But she chose me. … I never forgot what she gave up to be with me.”
The Glicks married in 1958 in New York. As a young married couple, their separate professional ambitions—and economic opportunities—drove them apart, but only geographically: Yoko went on tour with the Rogers and Hammerstein Broadway show, Flower Drum Song, which ended up in Las Vegas for a two-year contract while Norman stayed in New York to study dance at The Julliard School. On his semester breaks, Norman rode the Trailways bus to Nevada. Their separations were always viewed as temporary sacrifices so the other would thrive.
Later, when Norman took a job with the U.S. State Department, Yoko abandoned important entertainment industry connections in Las Vegas to join him on the assignments abroad. Though she had formed friendships with the celebrities who performed regularly on the same stage—Frank Sinatra, the Rat Pack, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis—it was his turn to shine.
Norman, too, almost pursued professional dancing, but yielded to more practical obligations. While at Julliard, he was asked to go on tour to Latin America with Jose Limon, the 1950s New York City dance/choreography phenom. Norman was excited about the opportunity, but he and Yoko had different ideas about what it would mean for their future together.
“Jose Limon was my idol. I had to choose between pursuing a career in the art world or supporting my wife. I knew I was good, but I also knew I was not a Baryshnikov. I understood my limitations and I decided it was better to be with the person I love.”
Instead of dance, Norman leapt into economics. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from City College of New York, a master’s degree in economics and Japanese language from Columbia University in New York, and a doctorate in business administration, international management from Nova Southeastern University. Yoko persevered in teaching and choreography wherever they lived: New York, Virginia, Japan, Korea, Egypt, and Nigeria.
After retirement from civil service in 1990, Dr. Glick taught economics at Trinity College, Nova Southeastern University, and finally Montgomery College, where he taught in the Business Administration and Economics Department (1998-2020).
The College’s mission, to serve students from various backgrounds and often limited resources, resonated with him. “So much of who I am and what I became was due to financial aid and scholarships,” he says. “Growing up, my parents could not afford to send me to college. At each phase of my development—even in the Army, I benefited from taxpayer funding and from scholarships. Now I want to give back.”
The Glicks have supported the Montgomery College Foundation since 2013. They pledged to leave the College a significant gift as part of their estate plan. Eventually, their bequest will establish an endowed scholarship to support students in financial need who plan to major in business or economics. They want to be able to experience the joy of having students benefit from their philanthropy during their lifetime.
Dr. Norman and Mrs. Yoko Glick, longtime donors, recently established the Dr. Norman D. and Yoko K. Glick Scholarship. It will provide tuition, fees, books, plus wrap-around and emergency needs for at least three students pursuing careers in science, engineering, economics, or one of the technical trades.