Hodges University Names Alan Korest 2016 Humanitarian of the Year
Hodges University has named Alan R. Korest, Naples civic leader and philanthropist, as its 2016 Humanitarian of the Year. “Chosen unanimously by the selection committee comprised of past award winners, Korest will join a distinguished fraternity of Collier County citizens who have had a profound, positive impact of the quality of life in our community,” says Phil Memoli, vice president of university advancement at Hodges. The award will be presented at the 20th Annual Humanitarian of the Year Luncheon on March 22, 2016.
Born in Illinois and raised in Detroit, Korest was the first in his family to graduate from college, earning a bachelor’s degree in business from Northwestern University. There, he came to understand the importance of education, later calling it “the single most important part of our lives.” After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy, attending the Officers Candidate School and serving in air reconnaissance over the South China Sea during the Korean War.
Returning to the United States after three years of service, he first worked for his father’s small business, then in 1958 created his own company, which specialized in industrial sales and manufacturing, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He served as its chief executive officer for nearly 25 years before selling the company to his employees and retiring.
Korest and his late wife, Marilyn, moved to Naples in 1983. “This was a new beginning,” he said. “In moving to Naples, I discovered that I wanted to do beneficial things in the community.” Over the past 30 years, Korest has served in countless civic capacities. For the City of Naples, he was planning advisory board member, councilman and vice mayor. “There, I learned how important it is for good people to become involved. Leaders should listen to what others say and work collaboratively, and, of course, should have an active sense of humor,” he commented.
Additional commitments include having served as chairman of the Board of Moorings Park, Inc., board member of the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, co-founder and president of the Forum Club, member of the Collier County Tourist Development Council, Big Cypress Basin and the Metropolitan Planning Organization, director of the Education Foundation - Champions for Learning and more.
Tangible results of his philanthropic efforts are evident throughout the community. The Korests envisioned and oversaw the creation of the Bower Chapel at Moorings Park, which was donated to the community by his late father-in-law, Edwin Bower. Housing the world-class Fenner Douglass organ, the chapel serves as a center of spirituality, music and camaraderie, and was recently enhanced by the addition of the adjacent Alan and Marilyn Korest Plaza.
“There are many opportunities to give back in this community. My father-in-law was the most unselfishly generous person I’ve ever met, and he taught me just how important philanthropy is,” comments Korest. “It is our job to do good - and enjoy doing it - while we are here,” he said.
In 2006, the Korests founded the Bower School of Music (now the Bower School of Music and the Arts) at Florida Gulf Coast University, donating $2.5 million to its creation and naming it in honor of the late Mr. Bower. In less than a decade, students from the school have twice appeared in Carnegie Hall.
Passionate about using music to help children learn, Korest continues to support MusicScores!, a Pre-K program that uses violin training and has proved highly effective in increasing kindergarten readiness. Other programs in which he has been actively involved include Take Stock in Children, a scholarship and mentoring program of The Education Foundation - Champions for Learning, and Music in America, for which he served as founding chair.
Earlier, Korest received numerous community awards, including the 2011 Outstanding Citizen of the Year (Naples Daily News), the Order of the Majestic Eagle (Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation) and 2013 Heart of the Apple (Education Foundation - Champions for Learning).
“We are pleased to honor Alan Korest for his years of service to our community. He has been a tireless supporter of education and is the epitome of the kind of special person that we choose as a Hodges University Humanitarian,” said Dr. David Borofsky, president of Hodges University.
Baird Private Wealth Management Robert W. Baird & Co. generously presents Hodges University’s Humanitarian of the Year Award Luncheon. Baird is an employee-owned, international wealth management, capital markets, private equity and asset management firm with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia.
“Baird is delighted to be the presenting sponsor of this prestigious event, which aligns well with our longstanding tradition of giving back to the communities in which we live and work,” said Mike Prioletti, senior vice president and branch manager of Baird’s Naples office. “We join Hodges University in recognizing the valuable contributions of Alan Korest and the many generous community citizens honored before him.”
Hodges University would also like to recognize Gulfshore Business as the media sponsor for this year’s event.
Previous award recipients include Alan Horton (2015), J. Dudley Goodlette (2014), John R. Wood (2013), 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).
Korest will be formally recognized at an award luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on March 22, 2016, at the Naples Grande Beach Resort.
Tickets for the event are $175 per person. For more information on ticket reservations or sponsorship opportunities, call April May at (239) 598-6153 or visit www.hodges.edu.