165 guests attended a cocktail reception and sit-down dinner at La Gorce Country Club on Miami Beach this past May 11th, honoring Leonard Abess, CEO of City National Bank, for his long record of philanthropy and community service. We are proud to have had this opportunity to honor a fellow graduate of Wharton and raise funds toward a scholarship in his name.
Andrew Heller, a member of the Wharton School Board of Overseers, represented the school addressed the gathering and noted the many benefits of Alumni Club membership including the ability to network with members of 80 Wharton alumni clubs around the world and access to exclusive webinars presented by Wharton professors. Andrew also commended the Wharton Club of South Florida for the number of quality business networking and business education events that it puts on and its growth in membership.
The keynote speaker was Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Richard is a member of our club’s Board of Directors and is a former winner of the Business Statesman Award in his own right. On April 10th of this year, Richard hosted a luncheon on board the world’s largest cruise ship “Oasis of the Seas” exclusively for members of the club. His speech at the statesman event was truly entertaining while providing insights into the character, integrity and dedication of our honoree.
Of course the highlight of the evening was the acceptance speech by Leonard Abess. Leonard recounted two experiences he had at Wharton. The first related to his days as a student when he almost failed a course in banking. Apparently the professor told him the only reason he did not fail was because the professor did not want to have to see him in the same class again the following semester. The professor’s advice to Leonard was not to follow a career in banking!
The second instance took place on campus recently when Leonard was asked to provide his analysis of what caused the current economic crisis. Leonard was quick to state, “It was what was being taught at Wharton back in 1970!”
THE LEONARD L. ABESS SCHOLARSHIP
will be presented by the Dean of the Wharton School to a student who best exemplifies the high standards embodied by Leonard Abess, who was recognized during the President’s address to the Joint Session of Congress in February 2009. Leonard Abess has been recognized by Time Magazine, ABC, and numerous prestigious organizations for his philanthropic work and leadership.
If you wish to contribute to the scholarship fund, please direct inquires to:
Gabriela Sanchez, Club Administrator
Please take a moment to also read the article published in the South Florida Business Journal entitled, "Character shines through as Wharton Club lauds Abess" via the following link:
The full article can only be viewed by paid subscribers thru June 18th. After that date, it can be viewed by everyone.