International College Dedicates First Naples Campus Building During Special Unveiling Ceremony on April 14
International College this afternoon dedicated the first Naples campus edifice the “George H. Gaynor Building” during an outdoor unveiling ceremony.
“The Gaynor family has made significant contributions to International College, which deserves significant recognition. The naming of our first Naples campus building after George Gaynor serves as a fitting and lasting tribute that will be shared with our students now and for years to come,” said International College President Terry McMahan.
For several years, the Gaynor family has donated and contributed to International College in a variety of categories, including capital and scholarships. Additionally, Mrs. Lavern Norris Gaynor serves on the College’s President’s Council, the newly-formed International College Foundation, and she was named as the first Humanitarian of the Year in 1997.
College administration approached Mrs. Gaynor regarding the building dedication idea, McMahan explained. Mrs. Gaynor expressed interest in honoring the building in memory of her late husband, George Gaynor, who died in July 2003.
“George would have been moved by this important occasion because he strongly believed in education,” Mrs. Gaynor said. “He admired the students at International College because -- in spite of family commitments and long work hours – they have the courage to follow their dream of pursuing an education. George was really impressed by the type of education International College offers. He wished there was a school like this around when he was a working adult.”
George Gaynor, a native New Yorker who retired to Naples in 1976, after a long career in the oil industry. He started out with Texaco’s Refining & Engineering Department in New York in 1935. Years later, he moved into Texaco’s Foreign Division. In the 1960s, Mr. Gaynor was appointed managing director of a new Texaco division in Belgium. A few years later, he established Texaco Italy. He retired as President of Texaco Italy in 1972. Philanthropically, Mr. Gaynor supported agencies including the YMCA of Collier County, Youth Haven, and The Boys & Girls Club.
Howard Tuthill, a Naples attorney, remembers his friend of 47 years not only as a successful businessman, but also as a devoted family man.
“I have the utmost respect and affection for George. As a lawyer, I’ve met very many people. I’ve never met anyone whose integrity stands out more with me than George. He stood for everything that was right and was always prepared to back it up,” Tuthill said. “I’m extremely pleased about the dedication. I can’t think of any other name I’d like to see on the International College Naples campus building. I think this gesture is well earned and well deserved.”
Ken Johnson, a Naples resident, friend and neighbor to the Gaynors, shared in Tuthill’s enthusiasm.
“George ran Texaco with integrity, honesty, talent, and diplomacy. He stood up for what was correct, proper, and fair,” said Johnson, a retired Exxon executive. “George was a modest man, but I know he would have felt very honored to have his name associated with International College.”
Mr. and Mrs. Gaynor have two children, Dee Dee Gaynor Spence, 57, of Chicago, and George Norris Gaynor, 55, of Chicago, and five grandchildren.
International College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. Class schedules are designed to meet the needs of students who hold full-time jobs. Classes are held at night, online, on weekends, and during the day. Degree programs are offered among 13 fields of study including management, business, legal studies, accounting, healthcare, computer information technology and criminal justice. It also offers curriculum leading to certification from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.
The 40,000 square-foot International College Naples campus opened in 2000. There are 18 classrooms, including 11 traditional and seven computer rooms.