28 September 2010: Outgoing Geelong Football Club president Frank Costa OAM was today awarded Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) highest honour, Doctor of the University, in recognition of his life’s service to the people of his Church and the wider local community.
The eldest of five sons born to Sicilian immigrants, Frank was raised in regional Geelong and said he learnt about family and religion, the importance of the community, and the rightful place of business in life from his parents.
He purchased the family’s produce business in the late 1950s, and built it up to become the largest privately owned fruit and vegetable wholesaler in the country, with operations in five states.
Frank is perhaps most well-known as the president of AFL football club Geelong. Under his leadership, the club has gone from near bankruptcy to profitability and been transformed into one of the AFL powerhouses.
No less significant has been Frank’s engagement with his local community. Over the last 20 years, he has taken up leading roles to develop services for local youth, improve health and welfare services for the local community, and support young people at risk of leaving school early.
Frank also helped develop a sensory garden for people with Alzheimer’s, oversaw programs for the Lorne Hospital and Geelong Bone Marrow Institute, was instrumental in the establishment of Multicultural Aged Care Services, and is currently helping to raise funds for St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne.
ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven said Frank has been tireless in caring for his fellow citizens and seeking ways to improve the life chances for all.
“Frank’s business career has demonstrated his personal abilities, concern for the welfare of all his staff, and above all, the importance of ethical practice,” he said. “As the president of Geelong he has weathered the good times and bad, has been a model for the young people in the team and instilled in them the importance of their leadership role in the community.”