Alan R. Korest, Naples civic leader and philanthropist, has been named Hodges University’s 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 earned 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 Officer 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. In 1958, he 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 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.” 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,” he commented.
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.
“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.
Passionate about using music to help children learn, Korest supports 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, the Order of the Majestic Eagle and 2013 Heart of the Apple. “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.
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.