George L. Argryos
George L. Argyros, who served as the United States Ambassador to Spain and is a renowned real estate investor, public servant and philanthropist, will address the Grand Banquet at the 19th
Annual Leadership 100 Conference on Saturday, February 6, 2010. He will be presented with the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence.
Argyros served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain and Principality of Andorra from November 2001 to November 2004. During this extraordinary period in Spain’s history, Ambassador Argyros’ outstanding diplomatic accomplishments included forging a close alliance with King Juan Carlos and former President Jose Maria Aznar that resulted in Spain’s support and participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, guiding the U.S. response to the tragic terrorist bombings in 2003 and implementing new initiatives to assist and promote U.S. trade and investment in Spain.
Ambassador Argyros formerly served as a member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations for the U.S. Trade Representative until 1990, when President G. W. Bush appointed him to the board of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). He completed his term on the Freddie Mac Board in March 1993.
Born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Pasadena, California, Ambassador Argyros graduated from Chapman University in 1959 with a major in Business and Economics. He is currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Arnel & Affiliates, a prominent West Coast diversified Investment Company, with corporate offices located in Costa Mesa, California. He is also a General Partner in Westar Capital, a private investment company. From 1981-1987, he was co-owner of AirCal, which was successfully sold to American Airlines in 1987; and from 1981-1989, he was owner of the Seattle Mariners Baseball Club of the American League for nine full seasons.
He is also a member of the Board of Directors for First American Corporation (NYSE); DST Systems, Inc. (NYSE); and Petmate. Prior to his ambassadorship, he was a member of the Board of Directors for Rockwell International Corporation (NYSE) and The Newhall Land and Farming Company (NYSE.)
From 1976 to 2001, Ambassador Argyros set a record as the longest serving Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Chapman University, one of the West’s finest private universities. He currently remains on the Chapman Board while also serving as a Life Trustee for the California Institute of Technology, where he formerly served as Chairman of the Investment Committee.
He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Beckman Foundation, a major philanthropic foundation for scientific research; former Chairman of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation; Founding Chairman for the Nixon Center in Washington D.C.; International Councillor and Trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C., Board Member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Member of the Library of Congress Open World Leadership Board; Member of the Hoover Institution’s Board of Overseers, and former Chairman and Board Member of the Orange County Council Boy Scouts of America.
Ambassador Argyros was a 1993 recipient of the Horatio Alger Award of Distinguished Americans and served as President and CEO of the Washington D.C. based Horatio Alger Association from 1995 to 1998, Chairman from 1998 to 2000, and currently serves as Treasurer and Chairman Emeritus. In 2004, he was selected by the Horatio Alger Association to receive the Norman Vincent Peale Award in recognition for his ongoing involvement in the Association and his humanitarian contributions to society. He was the 2007 recipient of the Semper Fidelis Award from the Marine Scholarship Foundation. In June 2005, through the Horatio Alger Association, he and Mrs. Argyros initiated the first national college scholarship program exclusively for veterans who have served honorably in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. As of January 2009, 2,348 scholarships have been awarded to these veterans.
In 1997, Ambassador Argyros received an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Pepperdine University; in 2001 he was the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; and in 2005 he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Chapman University.He is an Archon in the Order of Saint Andrew of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
He and his wife, Julia, have been married for 47 years and have three grown children and seven grandchildren.