The John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation Honors Leonard Florence

5/23/2003

For more information, please contact:
Sheila B. Hill at 781-828-9930 or 617-828-6984 (cell)
Tony Ferullo at 617-573-8448

Well-known businessman and humanitarian Leonard Florence received the second annual John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation’s “Public Service Award” at Suffolk University Law School, located at 120 Tremont Street in Boston.

The awards reception took place from 5-7 p.m., with tours of the John Joseph Moakley Archive, Institute, and Law Library available one hour before and after the awards ceremony. More than 400 people attended, including many elected officials and community leaders.

In addition to Florence being honored, the Foundation also recognized 20 individuals for their contribution to their community through public or charitable service. These individuals, representing undergraduate, graduate and vocational programs, each received a $5,000 scholarship.

It is most fitting that the John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation held its awards reception at Suffolk University Law School, where Moakley earned his law degree and later served as a trustee. The Law School is the home of the John Joseph Moakley Law Library, as well as the John Joseph Moakley Archive & Institute, which was established in 2001 when the late Congressman left his papers to his alma mater.

Leonard Florence, 71, a member of the Board of Trustees at Suffolk University, is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Syratech Corporation in East Boston. The company manufactures silver tabletop, giftware and seasonal products all over the world.

One of eight children born to Russian-Jewish immigrants, Florence grew up in Chelsea. He shined shoes when he was eight years old. At 29, he was a multi-millionaire, a real-life success story.

Today, Florence, the Consul General of Costa Rica, is known not only for his prominence as a businessman, but for his generous contributions to various charitable organizations and educational institutions, including Suffolk University. In 2001, Suffolk University’s Sawyer School of Management dedicated a high-technology classroom in his honor.

Florence has received many awards from various associations throughout his long and distinguished career. He is an active participant in numerous charities around the globe, touching the lives of countless individuals.

In 1993, Florence received, by appointment of Pope John Paul II Supreme Pontiff, the Order of The Knights of St. Gregory the Great. This honor recognizes individuals who distinguish themselves for notable accomplishments on behalf of society, regardless of their religious beliefs.

Committed to public service throughout his life, Florence currently serves on many boards, including: the Cardinal Cushing School and Training; the Center for Children of All Faiths; Tufts University School of Medicine; RACE to erase Multiple Sclerosis Foundation; the Jewish Theological Seminary; Beth Israel Hospital; the American Committee for the Weizzman Institute; Catholic Charities of Boston; Lifetime Hoan Corp; the Fashion Institute of Technology; and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Soldiers Home.

The John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation was formed in the spring of 2001 in order to continue the extraordinary public service legacy of Congressman Joe Moakley. The mission of the Foundation is to assist worthy individuals and charitable organizations to pursue educational opportunities in all sectors of the economy. The Foundation will provide scholarships and grants on an annual basis.

Suffolk University is a private co-educational institution located on Boston’s historic Beacon Hill, providing quality education at an affordable cost for students of all ages and backgrounds. Suffolk has a combined enrollment of more than 7,000 full- and part-time students in its Law School, College of Arts and Sciences, Sawyer School of Management and The New England School of Art and Design.

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