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Palm Beach State College’s mission to transform lives does not happen without the incredible partnership of individuals like Frank DiMino, a local resident, longtime entrepreneur and friend of the College. A recent seven-figure gift from the Frank DiMino Family Foundation is thought to be the largest in Palm Beach State’s 87-year history, an unprecedented investment in the future of the College, its students and Palm Beach County.
Mr. DiMino’s gift allows the College to expand its newest campus in Loxahatchee Groves by establishing the Frank DiMino Center for Medical Innovation, a state-of-the-art health sciences initiative. Advanced programs and 21st century technology empower students with real-world learning experiences for healthcare education and careers, benefiting not only a student’s academics but also an entire community’s well-being. Also, the Frank DiMino Dental and Medical Technology Center, a proposed 88,000 square foot, four-story structure, will house current and future programs in medical, dental and surgical technology and training. In addition, the existing multipurpose facility will be named the Frank DiMino Administration Building, a decision that the Palm Beach State District Board of Trustees unanimously approved at their February 2020 board meeting.
The signage marking the Frank DiMino Center for Medical Innovation can now be seen at the entrance of the three-story, multipurpose building at the Loxahatchee Groves campus, where a small ceremony was held on Monday, June 15, to honor Mr. DiMino’s remarkable philanthropy. Mr. DiMino was joined by David Rutherford, Vice President of Institutional Advancement; Dr. Stephen Joyner, Executive Dean of the Loxahatchee Groves campus; Edward Willey, Dean of Health Sciences; and Rochelle Nolan, Foundation Gift Officer.
“We are honored to receive this extraordinary gift from Mr. DiMino, enhancing the legacy we have established in Loxahatchee Groves and throughout Palm Beach County,” said Palm Beach State College President Ava Parker. “It is absolutely gratifying to have an individual like Mr. DiMino not only believe in our mission but also invest in it to ensure the valuable work of this College and help our students reach their goals.”
A portion of the funds will also be used to establish an endowed scholarship that will bear Frank’s name. The remainder will be used for significant projects designated by the College as vital to the academic and future well-being of its students and the development of healthcare education. David Rutherford, who is also executive director of the Palm Beach State Foundation, will lead the stewardship of this substantial contribution to the College. "Mr. DiMino's generous gift is truly a transformational investment in Palm Beach State, reflecting a shared vision with the College and a commitment to caring for others and impacting lives throughout our community.”
Born Francesco DiMino in 1926 in Grotte, Sicily, Frank and his family immigrated to the United States in 1934 where they settled in Rochester, New York. In 1947, he married his wife Helen, raising six children together, and would soon begin investing in real estate, growing his small construction company into one of the largest in Upstate New York.
Over his 80-year career, Frank has led countless small business ventures and has employed thousands of workers. In 1960, he founded Frank DiMino Co. (later renamed Sealand Construction) with a focus on large-scale highway construction projects in New York State. At the peak of his entrepreneurial activity, Frank owned and operated a wide variety of businesses, including a boarding and training facility for thoroughbred horses, an 18-hole semi-private golf course, several multi-unit apartment complexes, a construction company and the largest active landfill in New York State.
In 2015, Frank left New York and settled in Wellington. While he claims to be retired, Frank shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 93. Today, Frank spends most of his time juggling philanthropy, charitable giving and entrepreneurship and visiting with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Over the years, Frank has invested heavily in numerous educational and healthcare services. His desire to improve the lives of others can be seen and felt throughout the area with contributions to the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation in Wellington and The King’s Academy, a college preparatory, Kindergarten – 12 parochial school in West Palm Beach.
Frank recently shared his thoughts and intentions behind his philanthropy. “Investing in our future begins with helping young adults reach their potential today. It is my pleasure to give this gift to Palm Beach State College. This will allow students to work toward improving our future for many generations.”
Frank DiMino’s meaningful generosity, thoughtful heart and selfless actions speak as loud as his tremendous vision, which not only elevates the College’s capacity to deliver progressive, essential educational programs but also enhances Palm Beach State’s role as the heart of Palm Beach County.
(From L to R, Dr. Charles Colbert, Chris Colbert and Linda Colbert)
“Teaching music appreciation kept his mind active and engaged, providing a life-extending sense of purpose,” recalls Chris about his father’s thirteen years with the College. “My father has enjoyed a lifelong career in music and has always loved both performing and teaching. He was fortunate to be able to make a living through music and took great pleasure in inspiring others through music. We are thrilled that the scholarship that now bears his name has found a home at Palm Beach State.”
Two years ago, his father’s health issue prompted Chris to reflect on the man’s life, career and passion for music. Inspired by a local and longtime music associate of his father’s, Chris had seen Paul Chaffin, a Lake Worth music store owner and member of the musical community, recognized with a scholarship in his name at Palm Beach State.
“This was an important choice while he’s with us,” recalls Chris, referring to the timing as almost selfish in nature. “We wanted family and friends to be with him to experience this gift. And the endowment is something for the future, something that exists of him and will exist beyond him.” While his mother’s own interest in music and his partner’s nursing degree from the College also helped Chris to settle on Palm Beach State, another significant factor fostered his decision. “If Palm Beach State students have a need, even a small scholarship can make a huge difference between going and not going to school. We thought that we could make the most impact here and build a legacy that would provide for students.”
In June 2019, celebrating Charles’s 90th birthday at a family gathering in Ohio, Chris presented his father with a custom-framed letter from Palm Beach State President Ava Parker, announcing the scholarship in his name. An emotional moment for all, heartfelt tears flowed from the man who has known a lifetime’s harmony of music and family and is now healthier than ever.
Today, Chris’s gift is bringing opportunity to the students of Palm Beach State by establishing the music scholarship, an expression as meaningful as the music itself. According to Chris, this is a way to give back, especially with parents who always emphasized the importance of education. “My father is a woodwind specialist; he plays saxophone, clarinet, bassoon, oboe and flute. As a kid, I was exposed to great music, which was a tremendous gift really. This is a salute to someone who has been sharing music with so many for so long.”
A universal language that unites people, transcends culture and celebrates diversity, music and its many facets can move us personally, emotionally, spiritually – as powerful as it is comforting in moments of joy or times of strife. If it’s true that music can change the world because it can change people, it certainly changed Charles Colbert’s life. Now, the scholarship that honors him is changing the lives of Palm Beach State students through the gift of music.
(From L to R, PBSC VP, Institutional Advancement & Foundation Executive Director, David Rutherford; PBSC President Ava L. Parker; PBSC Foundation Chair Emeritus, George Gentile and PBSC Foundation Board of Directors Chair, Ricky Wade)
English author John Bunyan proclaimed in the seventeenth century that "you have not lived until you do something for someone who can never repay you." While our students may repay us simply by virtue of their achievements, they often do not know who to thank for their ability to pursue higher education and their dreams for tomorrow.
On May 7, the Palm Beach State College Foundation invited those who have contributed to a student's future during the 2018-2019 school year to the Fountains Country Club for an evening of celebration. The event acknowledged donors and the significance of what it means to grant someone an opportunity that may not otherwise be possible. With live music, an interactive presentation from several outstanding engineering students and a chance to socialize with old and new friends, the evening brought a sense of fellowship and Panther pride.