Posted April 14, 2008

Philadelphia business, community leader to receive honorary degree

Floyd W. Alston to receive honor at May 22 Commencement

Floyd W. Alston, a business and community development leader who has been instrumental in the growth and vitality of North Central Philadelphia, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Temple University during its May 22 Commencement ceremony in the Liacouras Center.

“Floyd Alston has been a catalyst for the kind of change that makes a real difference in the daily lives of Philadelphians, especially those who live and work in the community surrounding Temple,” said Temple University President Ann Weaver Hart.

“In conveying Temple’s highest honor, we will pay fitting tribute to Mr. Alston’s remarkable accomplishments as a business visionary, neighborhood developer and public servant. His lifelong dedication as a community leader is an inspirational example for our students,” Hart said.

Alston’s participation renews a tradition of inviting local, state and national leaders whose values and accomplishments are consistent with Temple’s mission and ideals to receive an honorary degree along with the graduating class. The university has awarded more than 800 honorary degrees throughout its 124-year history; Alston will be the first in many years to receive the degree as part of Commencement exercises.

Alston’s long career has been highlighted by his role as founding president of the Beech Corp., now Beech Interplex. Established in 1990, the community development organization was designed to bring together business, government and non-profit entities to revitalize the Cecil B. Moore neighborhood, adjacent to Temple’s Main Campus, which had experienced a period of economic decline. During his tenure with Beech, Alston partnered with Temple and brought new investment to the community, assembling the resources that have resulted in more than $200 million in private development, including new retail shops, restaurants and office space.

“Mr. Alston was the most effective, organized, committed, respected and selfless community leader of the past generation in North Central Philadelphia,” said former Temple President Peter J. Liacouras.

Alston, who grew up in North Philadelphia, has had a wide-ranging professional career as vice president of First Pennsylvania Bank; president of the HOPE Development Corp.; manager of the Philadelphia Housing Authority; vice chair of the Berean Federal Savings Bank; treasurer and member of the Philadelphia Tribune Newspaper board of directors; and treasurer of the African American Historical and Cultural Museum (now the African American Museum in Philadelphia).

As a civic leader, Alston has been president, vice president and a board member for the School District of Philadelphia; a founding member and former president and director of the Tucker House nursing care facility; founding member and president of J.M. Housing Inc., which provides low-income families with rental housing; and vice president of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. He has served on the boards of the Avenue of the Arts Inc., the Philadelphia Scholars Fund and many other community service oriented organizations.


Alston is a graduate of Temple, having earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1970. He has also studied at the Fels Institute of State and Local Government and is a licensed medical technician from the Franklin School of Science and Arts.

Temple’s Commencement takes place in the Liacouras Center, 1776 North Broad St., beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 22.