Robert J. Norman, ’03

Robert Norman discovered ideas in literature that shaped the world while studying English at Montreat College from 1999-2003. After his time at Montreat College, he decided that finding his calling through service was the best way forward. With this realization, he joined the US Peace Corps and served as a sustainable development volunteer in Bolivia. It was in Bolivia that he found his calling through the application of language arts in the developing world.

While establishing multiple international sustainable development initiatives in areas such as education, agriculture, basic sanitation, and community development, he realized that servitude is not only a means to discover a calling, but servitude, itself, was his calling.

The ability to understand and communicate diverse perspectives through written and spoken English enabled Robert with the ability to adapt to almost any circumstance while establishing creative ways to serve impoverished and underserved populations. While serving in the United States Peace Corps he was blessed to be able to help serve thousands of people living in poverty.

Shortly after his marriage, his project in Bolivia was suspended due to political unrest and Robert found himself unemployed. However, his academic and spiritual background at Montreat College benefitted him. Using his linguistic abilities and background in literature he was able to find work at a local bi-national center where he began teaching English. He established an unprecedented international volunteer program soon after which was funded by the United States Department of State. Robert won the NAFSA Excellence Award for International Educational Program Development for this initiative. In Robert’s mind, all of this would have been impossible if not for the faith-based, service-driven focus of his education at Montreat College.

When asked what advice he would give current or prospective Montreat College students, Robert referred to two of his favorite quotes; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”(Phil. 4:13). and  “You can do anything with a degree in English from Montreat.” (Dr. Don King).

Robert now lives in Cochabamba, Bolivia with his wife and daughter where he serves with a Presidential Commission as a Consular Agent in the US Department of State. 

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