Northland College last month named John N. Allen of Naples, Fla. and Minneapolis, Minn., as its 2014 Philanthropist of the Year. Allen is the President, CEO, and sole principal of Industrial Equities, LLP a privately held commercial real estate investment, development, and management firm based in Minneapolis.

A Wisconsin native from Suamico, a small farming and fishing community near Green Bay, Allen graduated magna cum laude in 1977 from Northland College with a degree in social studies, with a pre-law emphasis. He earned a Juris Doctor from Hamline University Law School.

Allen who is a long serving trustee — including 10 years as chair — credits Northland with helping launch his successful business career. “Unlike larger major universities, professors at Northland never quit on you—this is the foundation that allowed me to be successful in law school and which helps me in every transaction.”

Allen has supported substantial College initiatives, including art, library, athletics, and science facilities. Most recently, Northland dedicated the John N. Allen Fitness Center, committed to health and wellness for students, staff, and faculty and their families.

The Center includes strength machines, spin bikes, treadmills, elliptical trainers, free weights, and core equipment, as well as space for yoga, dance, and group fitness classes. It also has a state-of-the-art climbing wall.

“The fitness center really is a showpiece on campus —and used by everyone at all hours,” said student trustee Liz White. “Looking back, I don’t know how we did without it.”

At a dinner in Allen’s honor, President Michael Miller stood at a podium and spoke directly to John’s three adult children. “I want you to know what your father means to Northland. He’s a force. He’s passionate. He gets things done. He’s a leader. His generosity and dedication to this place means the world to everyone in the Northland family.”