Olewine funds new back entrance, nature preserve
by Joyce Shelfo
Published Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012
Longtime friend of Lynn University, Benjamin Olewine III of Harrisburg, Pa., and Boca Raton, Fla., has pledged $1 million to create a new entrance to the university on Potomac Road and a back perimeter road that will include the relocation of the existing nature preserve to the western edge of campus.
Relocation of the preserve and the new entrance, roadway and guard shack are required before continuing construction for the campus’ master plan development.
The newly-named Benjamin Olewine III Preserve, home to Florida scrub—the oldest plant community in Florida—will provide a living laboratory for the study of this ecosystem (considered an imperiled plant community by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory) including seven animal species and 40 plants listed as rare, threatened or endangered.
Ben and his family have been ardent supporters of wildlife preservation throughout the world, establishing sanctuaries and habitats in North and South America. He is the creator of, and the major donor to, the Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center in Harrisburg.
The Olewine family’s interest in conservation and birding is world-wide through Birdlife International, a global partnership of conservation organizations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity. The organization has offices in 117 different countries. Ben’s son, Benjamin Olewine IV, is a board member and also is active in the Audobon Society in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
“We’ve been underwriters for the Palm Beach Zoo’s Bald Eagle Exhibit, and the new interactive show, ‘Wings Over Water.’ We’ve also joined in the zoo’s preservation of the tiger,” he says. “When the university showed me a need to construct a new back entrance to campus and also to relocate the preserve, I was happy to be the major donor.”
Ben has been a strong supporter of Lynn University over the years —establishing the Olewine Culinary Institute for hospitality students, as well as the Olewine Entrance Garden at the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center. He has been a consistent, annual donor to the Leadership Society since 2007 and received an honorary degree from Lynn last May.
Although 90-year-old Olewine sold the family wholesale food business to Sysco Corporation in 1988, he still goes into the office every day to oversee the company’s daily activities.