Davenport Event Encompasses Past Present Future

May 14, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — Davenport University’s annual Excellence in Business fundraiser will serve as a night to reminisce, think about the present and look forward to the future.

That’s because on May 17 at the Grand Center, Davenport will hand out the annual Excellence in Business Award, debut Chancellor Emeritus Don Maine’s book and welcome keynote speaker Lou Dobbs — all to raise money for university programs and students.

The university will recognize David Frey with the Excellence in Business Award, created in 1998 in honor of alumnus Peter Cook. The award is given each year to an individual who exemplifies the Davenport University motto, “Make a living. Make a life. Make a contribution.” The individual is someone who has achieved outstanding business success and also demonstrates a willingness to give back to the community.

Frey’s accomplishments include his work with the former Union Bank, which eventually morphed into Bank One, and his service to the community through Grand Action, which is the driving force behind many projects, including the Van Andel Arena and the convention center.

“I think the history of the bank in the city and the region makes a significant statement as a well-respected institution that has, since 1918, helped build the city,” said Frey.

While the bank has over the years had different names on the door, Frey noted that the commitment to the region and the future of the central business district of West Michigan always has remained the same.

“We have a legacy and a pledge, and I think those are two good words to sum it up. We are a force for change when it is needed and we are here to take the city to the next level,” he added. “In turn we have helped many businesses prosper and we take pride in that and in helping individuals succeed in their own growth.”

With his non-banking hat Frey continues to further the development of the city as chairman of the Frey Foundation and co-chairman of Grand Action.

“We are able, with Grand Action, to take on significant capital projects with people who share in the same vision of the city,” Frey said. “These projects require private sector philanthropy and participation in addition to city, county and state partners, and it is an effort that hundreds of people have been involved in and something that is wonderful for the area.”

And while Frey continues to be amazed by the growth of the city, and the wealth of talented and knowledgeable people that growth has brought to the area, he is not surprised by the strides Davenport has taken over the years to carve a niche for itself in the education market.

“Over the years, with Don Maine, and now in the hands of Randy Flechsig, Davenport has grown all over the state, taken the best of area schools and put their logo on it, but never strayed from the mission and the heart of what was important to the school,” Frey said.

He added that he is glad to be a part of the celebration and to help raise money for Davenport and for scholarships for its students.

“I am flattered to be selected by the Davenport Board of Trustees and accept this on behalf of everyone else that has been involved in the growth of this city,” said Frey. “We are poised for the next chapter of growth and economic vitality. I think this city can be the finest of its size. We just have to think more boldly and take charge of our own destiny.”

Davenport expects nearly 1,000 people at the black tie event. Tickets are $125 per person and proceeds will benefit the Davenport University Foundation for the purpose of providing financial assistance to Davenport students, programs and capital projects.

In addition to the Excellence in Business Award, the evening will mark the debut of Maine’s book, which showcases the success stories of 27 West Michigan entrepreneurs.

Kevin Kabat, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank-Western Michigan and vice chairman of the Davenport University board of trustees, will serve as host, and Lou Dobbs, anchor and managing editor of CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Moneyline,” will deliver the keynote speech.

Dobbs will address the current status of the economy and what the United States can hope to see in the future. “In terms of the outlook for the economy, I believe we’ll see steady improvement, with GDP growth of around 3 percent for this year. However, that’s barring a major disruption, such as another terrorist attack or a significant geopolitical development,” said Dobbs. “In terms of the markets, as corporate earnings improve, stocks will strengthen. However, we won’t see a return to the explosive growth and double-digit returns of the late ’90s.”

Tickets are available for the event by calling 732-1093.  

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