Hodges University names Betty Bireley its 2015 Luminary of the Year

Hodges University News

A committee of past Hodges University Luminary Award recipients announced today that it has selected Fort Myers philanthropist and community activist Betty Bireley as its 2015 Luminary of the Year award recipient. The annual award will be presented during a luncheon on Thursday, January 29, 2015, at the Broadway Palm Theater in Fort Myers.

The Luminary Award recognizes local citizens who personify society’s most valued human characteristics and thus have moved society in a positive way, serving as distinguished examples of the virtues of perseverance, honesty, moral character and charity.

“Betty has been a strong philanthropic force in Southwest Florida for many years,” said Phil Memoli, Vice President of University Advancement at Hodges. “She has made and continues to make an impact in Lee County. She follows her passions and fully commits to projects she believes in and the community benefits from the results. She’s the type of person who’d rather roll up her sleeves than sit in a lunch meeting. Betty is only interested in outcomes, not recognition, so we are honored that she has allowed us to recognize her as our Luminary of the Year. Her story and her charity are truly inspirational.”

A Fort Myers resident for 33 years, Betty Bireley has been an avid supporter of numerous local charities and arts organizations. She has not only donated to these groups but has actively participating in numerous fundraising events with a steadfast will and spirit. Betty has given both her time and treasures to AIDS Task Force of Lee County, Eden Autism Services, The Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, Lee Cancer Care, Alliance for the Arts, Lee County Homeless Coalition, Berne Davis Center, Hodges University, the Uncommon Friends Foundation, the Heights Foundation and many more. Bireley has supported a variety of local fundraisers, including Arts for ACT and the Alliance for the Arts’ fall fundraiser. The Bireley Family Foundation also hosts the annual Ribbon and Blues, an evening of music and fundraising benefiting the Regional Cancer Center Compassionate Care Fund.

Betty Bireley has been honored by several local civic organizations and was named Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s Prima Donor for her commitment to making an impact in the community through charitable giving. Betty, and her late husband Frank, were also named Philanthropists of the Year by Lee Memorial Health System.

Mrs. Bireley joins a growing list Luminary Award recipients including Sam Galloway, Jr. (2013), Wayne and Mavis Miller (2012), Francis and Sam Bailey (2011) and Dr. Veronica Shoemaker (2010).

For her outstanding involvement and dedication to our community, and for making significant contributions of leadership and service which have improved and enriched the lives of so many residents of our community, Hodges University is pleased to honor Betty Bireley as its 2015 Luminary of the Year. She will be formally recognized at a luncheon on January 29, 2015, at the Broadway Palm Theater. For more information on ticket reservations or sponsorship opportunities, call Adriana Buitrago at 239-598-6235 or visit www.hodges.edu. 

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