Richard A. Corbett, Aquinas Class of 1956, is a native of Rochester. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and went on to receive an MBA from Harvard Business School. He was a presidential aide in the John F. Kennedy administration and subsequently was employed by the Kennedy family in managing their real estate trust portfolio in New York City.
Richard “Dick” Corbett began his career as a real estate investor and developer in New York City. He later relocated to Tampa, where he acquired various real estate assets throughout the state and at one time owned the NASL Tampa Bay Rowdies Soccer Team.
Corbett has been a successful catalyst for effective, broad-based public and private projects and policies affecting Florida. His contributions to Florida’s economic development, agricultural systems, K-12 education and growth management have been substantial and lasting. Through his memberships on state and local governing agencies and boards, Dick has demonstrated that he is a leading and recognized strategic thinker who is committed to working with others to address the array of Florida’s dynamic and distinctive public policy issues. He is committed to improving the quality of life and the economic vitality for people who live in Florida.
Dick’s commitment to economic development and growth management are reflected in complex real estate ventures he has financed, developed and constructed. They have all involved crafting delicate political and financial relationships with local and national financial institutions, investment partners and government bodies. In 2001, his most ambitious and acclaimed achievement was International Plaza – a mixed use retail, office and hotel development located at the Tampa International Airport, which attracts over 18 million visitors a year. It has generated thousands of permanent jobs, hundreds of new commercial sales entities, office space, adjunct hotels and restaurants and produces hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the regional economy, yielding substantial tax revenues that benefit the community.
Dick has played a two-pronged, vital role in the development and preservation of large agricultural systems in Florida. He co-owns Pinckney Hill Plantation, a 16,000 acre farm and natural wildlife preserve in Jefferson County, FL. Since 2003 he has served as one of seven commissioners appointed by the Governor to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and he is currently Chair. He is very involved and plays an active role with the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, a new program jointly sponsored by the FWC and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, which leads the effort to reconnect Florida’s children with traditional outdoor activities.
Dick’s role in promoting the value and quality of K-12 education is reflected in one of Florida’s most respected elementary schools, the Corbett Preparatory School in Tampa (formerly the “Independent Day School”). Dick and his family were intimately involved in the design, financing and construction of this award-winning school. He has played the pivotal leadership role in the fundraising for the newly constructed downtown riverfront Tampa Museum of Art, which is intended to interface directly with K-12 schools in the region to improve the quality and appreciation of art among young people.
In addition, Dick has served as a Trustee on the Board of Directors of the Tampa General Hospital and on the Tampa General Hospital Foundation Board. In recent years he has also served on several other boards, including the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry, the Hillsborough Education Foundation, the Florida Council on Economic Education, Boy Scouts of America, two Tampa Super Bowl Host Committees, the National Finance Committee Member of the recent Romney Victory Campaign and Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.
In 2013, Dick and his wife, Cornelia, were inducted into the Florida Council on Economic Education Hall of Fame.
Dick is married to Cornelia and has three grown daughters, a son and two grandchildren. His hobbies are skiing, hunting, fly-fishing, golf and yoga.