Kenneth G. Langone, Home Depot Co-Founder, Chairman of the NYU Langone Medical Center, to Lead 65th Annual Columbus Day Parade as Grand Marshal
Lifetime of Achievement Traces Arc of American Dream
Parade to be Held on October 12 on Fifth Ave. in New York City
NEW YORK, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kenneth G. Langone, investment banker, venture capitalist and philanthropist, will be Grand Marshal of the 2009 Columbus Day Parade in New York City.
Mr. Langone, a co-founder of Home Depot and chairman of the NYU Langone Medical Center, will lead contingents of folk dancers, musicians, dignitaries, and civil servants nearly 35,000 strong past crowds of nearly one million people in the world's largest celebration of Italian and Italian-American culture and heritage.
"Ken Langone is a virtuous man of good character, who is an ideal role model for Italian-Americans and indeed all Americans," said Lawrence Auriana, chairman of the Columbus Citizens Foundation.
"Mr. Langone is living proof that the American dream continues," said Louis Tallarini, president of the Foundation. "Ken was able to attend college because of sacrifices that his parents made, and he worked his way through school as a construction laborer, a golf caddy, and a butcher's assistant. Ken succeeded beyond his parents' wildest dreams in business and in his philanthropic work: he has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to universities, hospitals, and foundations. We are deeply honored that Ken has agreed to be the standard-bearer for the Italian-American community and for all Americans who commit themselves to hard work and helping those in need."
"New York and America have provided opportunities for millions of people who came here in pursuit of a better life," said Langone. "I am extremely fortunate that my grandparents were among them, and I am honored to represent the men and women from Italy who came to the United States before me and who helped make America the greatest nation on earth."
The parade will be held on October 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The parade runs north on Fifth Avenue from 47th through 79th Streets and will be broadcast on NBC affiliates and by RAI Italian television.
As Grand Marshal, Mr. Langone will be presented with an award at the Columbus Day Gala on Saturday, October 10 at the Waldorf Astoria. In addition to the Parade and Gala, the Foundation celebrates its heritage with a two-week, 7,000 square foot exhibition in Grand Central Terminal, which this year will become a stage for a beautiful exhibit on Italy's Veneto Region as well as a biographical storyboard on the Grand Marshal.
The Columbus Citizens Foundation organizes New York City's annual Columbus Celebration and is committed to fostering an appreciation of Italian-American heritage and achievement. The Foundation also provides opportunities for advancement to deserving Italian-American students through various scholarship and grant programs. For more information, visit www.columbuscitizensfd.org.
About Kenneth Langone
Mr. Langone was born in Roslyn Heights, New York to working class parents in a close-knit Italian family. His father was a plumber, and his mother worked in a cafeteria. Although Mr. Langone's high school principal stated that sending the boy to college would be a waste of money, the Langones mortgaged their house so their son could attend Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. Mr. Langone received a BA in Economics. Upon graduation, he served in the U.S. Army for two years.
Following his military service, Mr. Langone worked in the investment department of Equitable Life Assurance Company and in 1960, after attending night classes, received an MBA from New York University. In 1961, Mr. Langone became an associate at broker/dealer R.W. Pressprich & Co. and in 1968, as an Executive Vice President, handled the highly successful initial public offering of Ross Perot's Electronic Data Systems (EDS).
In 1974, Mr. Langone founded Invemed Associates, Inc., a small Park Avenue investment bank established to finance start-ups in the medical field. Among Invemed's major transactions was the takeover of medical electronics company Ivac, which Langone later sold to Eli Lilly. Ivac became Eli Lilly's medical instruments division, which has grown into a multi-billion dollar division.
Mr. Langone is perhaps best known as a co-founder of Home Depot, which he established in 1978 with Arthur Blank and Bernard Marcus. Mr. Langone provided venture capital for the company through Invemed. He served on the board and was a member of the Executive Committee of Home Depot until May, 2008. Home Depot employs over 300,000 people and has reshaped the home improvement industry saving the American consumer billions of dollars annually.
He also serves on the boards of YUM Brands, Unifi, Inc. and Micell Technologies. YUM Brands, the world's largest restaurant chain, owns and franchises Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
In addition to his business affiliations, Mr. Langone currently serves on the board of Trustees of New York University and on the board of Overseers of its Stern School of Business. He is chairman of the board of trustees of the NYU Langone Medical Center, formerly the New York University Medical School and Hospital, which was renamed in his honor as a result of the generous support that Mr. Langone and his wife, Elaine, provided.
From 1980 to 1996 he was a member of the Bucknell University board of trustees where he served as chairman of its nominating committee, its endowment and as a member of its executive committee.
Mr. Langone serves on the board of the Cancer Research Fund of the Damon Runyon Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House, the Robin Hood Foundation, CSIS and the Harlem Children's Zone. He is chairman of the Harlem Children's Zone Promise Academy Charter Schools of New York City.
A noted philanthropist, Mr. Langone has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to charities. He has made major gifts to his alma maters, Bucknell University and New York University, as well as the NYU Langone Medical Center. And, in recognition of his support for Catholic causes, Mr. Langone was made a Knight of St. Gregory by Pope Benedict XVI.
Mr. and Mrs. Langone have three grown sons. In his free time, Mr. Langone enjoys reading and playing golf with Mrs. Langone.
Event: Columbus Day Parade
Date: October 12, 2009
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Parade route: The parade heads up Fifth Avenue from 47th Street to 79th Street
SOURCE Columbus Citizens Foundation