The President's Society
The Hodges University President's Society is comprised of a group of community philanthropists and activists committed to the mid- and long-term sustainability and growth of the university. They have demonstrated their passion for our mission through their generous financial support. President's Society members work in concert with the president to cultivate donors whose philanthropic interests are aligned with funding new academic programs to provide career opportunities for our students and endowments to assure the future sustainability of the institution.
Randolph D. Brock III—Senator Brock was elected to the Vermont State Senate in 2008. He previously served as the Vermont State Auditor from 2005-2007. He retired as an executive vice president for Fidelity Investments and was formerly the firm's General Auditor. Brock earned the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in Vietnam, where he served as a captain in the Military Police Corps. He serves on the National Board of Directors of the Alzheimer's Association and as a trustee of the Vermont Law School. In 2008, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Board of Visitors to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Brock holds a Bachelor's degree from Middlebury College and a Master's degree from Yale University.
Barbara Burris—Barbara Burris has been a member of the Hodges University President's Society since 2006. She is a retired clinical social worker who operated a private practice in Indianapolis, IN. After her two children were born, she went to college and earned her BA from Butler University, then went on to earn her MSW and ACSW at Indiana University. It was her personal educational experience that piqued her interest in Hodges as an adult learner institution. She continues to be actively involved with the Oaks Academy in Indianapolis, as well as the Indianapolis Zoo and the Indianapolis Art Museum. Locally, she supports the David Lawrence Center, the Shelter for Abused Women and Children, and the children's outreach for the Naples Museum of Art.
John W. Fisher III—Namesake of the Fisher School of Technology at Hodges University, Mr. Fisher is an alumnus of Hodges University, graduating in 1996 with a Bachelor's in Management, and was recognized as Alumnus of the Year in 1999. Mr. Fisher is the son of John W. Fisher, chairman emeritus and former president of Ball Corporation and former chairman of the Ball Foundation. Mr. Fisher is semi-retired from the hotel/restaurant supply workforce and currently a rental property owner/manager. He actively pursues his goal of helping provide a good education to anyone with a thirst for knowledge. He is also a member of the Hodges University's HVET committee for the benefit of Hodges Veterans.
Terry Flynn—Originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin, Terry Flynn spent 25 years with MBNA America Bank headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware (now a credit card subsidiary of BankAmerica), moving up through the corporate ranks and retiring as Vice Chairman in 2004. Mr. Flynn has generously given financial contributions and volunteer time to a countless number of worthy not-for-profit organizations, including board and/or officer positions with the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County, the NCH Healthcare Foundation and Greater Naples Leadership, Inc. He and his wife, Christine, are also active in St. Ann Catholic Parish in Naples. Terry and Christine Flynn were honored as Hodges University's Humanitarians of the Year in 2009.
Lavern Norris Gaynor—Mrs. Gaynor is the daughter of Lester and Dellora Norris, a family that was instrumental in the early growth of Naples. Their initiative and unrelenting willingness to help was consistent through some of the most critical moments of Naples' history, including funding the rebuilding of the iconic Naples City Pier following its destruction by Hurricane Donna in 1960. Mrs. Gaynor has furthered this legacy of philanthropy, evident in her many efforts supporting initiatives involving education, the arts, health & wellness, and causes especially pertinent to the needs of neglected children. Mrs. Gaynor was recognized by Hodges University as its Humanitarian of the Year in 1997. She endowed the Hodges University President's Chair in 2006. Today she is quite active in archiving the history of Naples with Naples Backyard History.
Earl G. Hodges (In Memoriam)—The namesake of Hodges University, the contributions of Mr. Hodges and his wife, Thelma, to the community are significant, spanning nearly 50 years of service in our area. Mr. Hodges is perhaps best recognized as owner of the Earl G. Hodges Funeral Chapel in Naples, which provided more than 40 years of business and service to the local community. He has had a number of other successful business interests both in and out of state and has been actively involved in a countless number of local causes. In 2001, he was recognized as the Hodges University Humanitarian of the Year. His donation to International College in 2007 facilitated the institution's name change to Hodges University, honoring this great entrepreneur.
Michael London—Mr. London's leadership in industry and philanthropy is unprecedented. He has served as Chairman of the President's Society since 2009 and has provided vision for the Society and a plan that continues to grow the culture of positive change at Hodges University. London retired in 2006 from Best Buy as Executive Vice President of Global Sourcing. He had also served Best Buy as Executive Vice President of Merchandise and of Customer Centricity. Since retiring, London has been a consultant for various retail concerns. Mr. London has a Bachelor's degree from Duke University.
Jerry F. Nichols—Mr. Nichols serves as Senior Vice President for Brown & Brown Benefits and is a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, where he has been recognized for his community service four times. Nichols generously gives both financial contributions and volunteer time to a countless number of causes focused primarily on local children and education. These not-for-profit organizations include the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County, Junior Achievement, Community Foundation of Collier County, Quest for Kids, American Red Cross, and the Ronald McDonald House and Care Mobile. He has been actively involved with Hodges University for years, including his service as Chairman of the Hodges University President's Society in 2008. In 2008, Mr. Nichols and his wife were recognized as Hodges University's Humanitarians of the Year. In 2010, the School of Professional Studies was renamed as the Nichols School of Professional Studies after Jerry and his late wife Arlene.
Peter Thomas (In Memoriam)—Dr. Thomas was a highly respected narrator of television programs, including shows such as Nova and Forensic Files. Thomas was known for his crystal clear voice and precise diction. He had been a narrator for over fifty years. Dr. Thomas first began his radio career at age 13 and continued to be one of the most in-demand voices in the industry. One of the many highlights of his career includes an Academy Award won for his work on a documentary produced by HBO. Dr. Thomas volunteered for the U. S. Army in 1943 and served with the First Infantry Division in five major campaigns, including the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. He was issued a Battle star for each of the five campaigns. He was also awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Unit French Croix de guerre, and Belgian Fourragère. In 2004, Hodges University named him its Humanitarian of the Year and conferred an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree.
John R. Wood—Originally from Arkadelphia, Arkansas, John R. Wood practiced law in Arkansas before moving to Southwest Florida and passing the Florida Bar. Maintaining his attorney status for more than 20 years, he went on to obtain his real estate license and founded John R. Wood Realtors in 1958. He served as the president of the Naples, Florida and National Associations of Realtors, and as chairman of the Florida Real Estate Commission. Today, John R. Wood Realtors is the oldest major real estate business in Southwest Florida. Throughout the years, he has immersed himself into the local community, serving on the boards of many civic and charitable organizations in Collier County. He is the past chairman and board member of the St. Matthew's House and is a board member of the Collier County Junior Deputies League Inc. In 2007, he received the Naples Daily News Outstanding Citizen of the Year, and in 1991, he was recognized as the Junior Achievement Business Leadership Hall of Fame Laureate. For his continued support in the local community, Hodges University recognized Wood as its Humanitarian of the Year in 2013.
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