By Dale King
The Pineapple Contributing Writer
The Pineapple Newspaper
August 2015/Page 7
Boca Raton businesswoman and philanthropist Yvonne Boice has always been dedicated to serving and promoting cultural and performing arts, education and women’s rights.
Well-known for chairing the Palm Beach International Film Festival for many years, she relinquished that post to Jeff Davis earlier this year. “This was the 20th anniversary year of the event,” she said. “I figured that I had done enough.”
The tremendous strides she has made in the arts and entertainment worlds have not been forgotten. Boice recently received an honorary doctorate from Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H., during the school’s 50th commencement ceremony. Not only that, to honor Boice’s decision to advance the arts locally, nationally and globally, the university rechristened its performing arts center in her honor. “I will be invited there to lecture and to be a mentor,” she said.
Andrew Card, university president and former White House chief of staff to President George W. Bush, knew of Boice’s work and selected her for the dual honors. Also receiving honorary doctorates at the graduation were author and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams and Stanley Fry, chairman and CEO of FlashPoint Technology Inc.
“I am truly humbled to have been recognized with outstanding leaders such as Juan Williams and Stanley Fry,” said Boice. “And seeing my name unveiled on the performing arts center was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life.”
“Yvonne Boice is a tremendous role model for business leaders and arts advocates,” said Card, who was in Boca Raton July 3 for a special presentation ceremony for Boice at the Wick Theater.
But the accolades didn’t end there. Gov. Rick Scott chose Boice to be a member of the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Board, a 17-member panel that focuses on developing, marketing and promoting Florida’s entertainment business. Boice said she’d like to see Florida become “the Hollywood of the East.”
“It is a tremendous honor to be selected by Governor Scott for this prestigious appointment,” said Boice. “For more than two decades, I have taken a leading role in the film industry and have advocated for increased educational opportunities.” “With this new appointment, I am enthusiastically looking forward to working with the council on expanding the industry’s growth throughout Florida.”
Boice is still headquartered in an office at the Shoppes at Village Pointe in West Boca Raton, a major shopping area on Southwest 18th Street that she took over in the mid-1980s upon the death of her first husband, Grant Boice. She operated the center until 2014 when she sold it. A year earlier, she sold off her other major asset, Fugazy Travel.
Still busy, and still surrounded in her small office by photos of her with luminaries, celebrities and politicians, Boice remains active in the community, taking part in many events with husband Al Zucaro.
While she is no longer chairman of the PBIFF, she feels her successor, Davis, “is doing a bang-up job.”
For the first time, the festival has a theater of its own, though it will continue to present movies throughout the county during the film festival. PBIFF has acquired the former Plaza Theatre in Manalapan and will use it for movies and live acts. Boice hopes these can be done “at least once a week” throughout the year.
She said the venue has already been used for a week-long film series about cancer. It was fully underwritten, so movies were shown without charge.
Boice keeps her hand in many community activities. When the Palm Beach State College Foundation was launching a new STEM program – STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math – the school turned to her for help. She initially said “No’ because of the missing A.
“When I said no, they said ‘Why not?’ I said ‘You have to add an A—for the arts—and make it STEAM,” said Boice. “Education and the arts are my great loves.” So Palm Beach State College’s STEM Initiative became the STEAM Initiative, and Boice arranged a fundraiser featuring Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. It raised $500,000.