Hodges University to present 2013 Humanitarian of the Year award to John R. Wood

Hodges University, a private, non-profit institution of higher learning offering 24 undergraduate and eight graduate degree programs of study, today announced that it has selected Naples businessman, Realtor and civic leader John R. Wood as its 2013 Humanitarian of the Year. The annual award will be presented during a luncheon event on Thursday, February 21, 2013, at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club.

"The Humanitarian of the Year Luncheon has become a highly anticipated, respected and celebrated event,” said Philip M. Memoli, Vice President of University Advancement for Hodges University. “The annual award recognizes those citizens who exemplify the spirit of benevolence and public service in the Naples community. This is the 17th year in which Hodges University has bestowed the award upon a local individual or couple.”

Originally from Arkadelphia, Ark., Wood served in the Navy on several ships, including a destroyer and an aircraft carrier. Later, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Henderson State College and a law degree from the University of Arkansas. Upon graduation, he practiced law while his wife, Wanda, taught school. Their son, Phil, was born in 1955. 

In search of a warmer climate and greater opportunities, the couple headed to Florida in 1957 with $4,000 to their name and a Plymouth station wagon. They arrived in St. Petersburg, but later decided on Naples after visiting the sleepy fishing village of just 2,500 people. Wood proceeded to pass the Florida Bar and maintained his attorney status in the state for more than 20 years, but it was real estate where he would earn his living.

Wood obtained his real estate license and then founded John R. Wood Realtors in 1958. The firm began with just one employee and a small office on Fifth Avenue South. Today, John R. Wood Realtors is the oldest major real estate business in Southwest Florida with 10 offices from Marco Island to Sanibel/Captiva and over $1.5 billion in annual sales.

Wood has held many Realtor posts, including President of the Naples, Florida and National Associations of Realtors and Chairman of the Florida Real Estate Commission.

Over the years, Wood has immersed himself into the local community, serving on the boards of numerous civic and charitable organizations throughout Collier County. He currently is actively involved as the Past Chairman and Board Member of the St. Matthew’s House and as a Director of the Collier County Junior Deputies League Inc.

In honor of his countless contributions, Wood has earned many accolades and awards, including being recognized as the 2007 Naples Daily News Outstanding Citizen of the Year and as the Junior Achievement Business Leadership Hall of Fame Laureate in 1991.

“Since coming to Naples more than 50 years ago, John R. Wood has generously given back to the local community, always in a quiet fashion without fanfare or seeking anything in return,” said Terry P. McMahan, President of Hodges University. “We are delighted to honor his contributions by naming him as our Humanitarian of the Year.”

Wood joins a growing list of those honored as Humanitarians. Previous award recipients include William and Nancy Lascheid (2012), Dolph and Sharon von Arx (2011), Juliet C. “Judy” Sproul, Katherine “Katie” Sproul and Jennifer Sproul Sullivan (2010), Terry and Christine Flynn (2009), Jerry and Arlene Nichols (2008), Truly Nolen (2007), Michael Watkins and Ellin Goetz (2006), Clyde Butcher (2005), Peter Thomas (2004), William Schoen (2003), Frances Pew Hayes (2002), Earl Hodges (2001), Corbin Wyant (2000), Jack Humphrey (1999), Myra Janco Daniels (1998), and Lavern Norris Gaynor (1997).

For his enduring support of the local community, for fostering hope in those afflicted by despair, for proving that the promise of tomorrow’s future never means forsaking the past, and for demonstrating the degree to which a family can make a positive difference when times most demand it, Hodges University is pleased to recognize John R. Wood as its 2013 Humanitarians of the Year. Wood will be formally recognized at a luncheon scheduled for February 21, 2013, at 11 a.m. at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club.

Individual tickets cost $175 per person. For more information on ticket reservations or sponsorship opportunities, call Alyssa DeLora at 239-938-7826 or visit www.hodges.edu.

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