A Detroit business leader who participated in the “game-changing” effort to increase home ownership and revitalize Detroit neighborhoods will deliver the keynote address for Alma College’s 21st annual Honors Day.
Gary Torgow, chairman of Chemical Financial Corporation, presents “Leadership Through Community Building” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 5 in the Remick Heritage Center. Admission is free and open to the public; no ticket is required.
Honors Day activities continue Thursday, April 6, as Alma College students share their original research, creativity and talent in morning and afternoon sessions at various locations around campus. The 2017 winners of the Ronald O. Kapp Honors prizes will be announced at 4:30 p.m. in the Remick Heritage Center lobby.
Torgow will talk about the innovative work that Talmer Bank, a private bank that he founded and which recently merged with Chemical Bank, has done to revitalize Detroit neighborhoods. This effort culminated in the creation of the Detroit Home Mortgage program, which was designed to help overcome lending requirements that prevented individuals from receiving mortgages.
The program, described as “a game-changer for Detroit” by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, was funded through a partnership of Detroit banks, national foundations and community non-profits.
When the program was announced by the City of Detroit in February 2016, Torgow was quoted in media reports as saying, “Talmer Bank recognizes that neighborhoods come in many shapes and forms and that Detroiters deserve a fair shot at buying and reinvesting in a home. As we worked on this concept, we recognized the urgency to pool resources to come up with a new approach. I believe Detroit Home Mortgage can accelerate the City’s renaissance because it gives Detroiters the financing they have long needed to rebuild our communities.”
Chemical Financial Corp. is the holding company for Chemical Bank, which is the largest bank headquartered in Michigan following its merger with Talmer Bank. Torgow also is the founder of the Sterling Group, a Michigan-based real estate, development and investment company, which has acquired, developed and operated a number of landmark properties in southeastern Michigan.
In addition, he serves on the boards of several insurance companies, foundations and educational institutions as well as civic and communal boards, including the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. and the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.
He has won numerous awards, including the Frank A. Wetsman Leadership Award from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, the NAACP’s Fannie Lou Hamer “Keeping the Spirit Moving” Award and the Wayne State University Law School Distinguished Alumni Award.