Signs of Christine E. Lynn’s generosity are everywhere in the Boca Raton area—quite literally. Her name, and that of her late husband, Eugene, grace many South Florida institutions that improve the quality of life here.
Innumerable residents are indebted to the Lynn family—including the Lynn University community, past, present and future.
She is the spirit of Lynn University and has helped make this institution the special place it is.
Gregory J. Malfitano, senior vice president for development and administration
“Lynn University is close to my heart because it carries the Lynn family name, but also because I know how hard Don and Helen Ross worked and the sacrifices they made for the school,” she said. “And look at what the university is today. I am so proud. I look around campus, and I think how lucky all these young students are. It gives me great personal gratification. I never thought little ol’ me from Norway would ever experience anything like this.”
Mrs. Lynn grew up in her mother’s native Norway and in Toronto. She was born in Denmark to a Czechoslovakian father who served in the diplomatic corps, and her mother was a sports star.
After high school, she received her nursing degree from University Hospital Ulleval in Oslo, earning both registered nurse and surgical nurse credentials.
For seven years, she traveled as head nurse on two Norwegian American Line cruise ships. She met her future husband, Eugene M. Lynn, on one of the ships and settled down with him in Boca Raton in 1980.
“My late husband started everything. I wasn’t philanthropic at all, coming from Norway,” she said.
Confident of his wife’s abilities, Eugene handed her the reins to the E.M. Lynn Foundation, where she serves as its trustee. When he passed away in 1999—just six weeks short of their 20th wedding anniversary—Mrs. Lynn felt his hand on her shoulder, guiding her as she continued his legacy, she said. “If I knew what I was getting myself into, I never would have married him,” she joked.
Mrs. Lynn understands the power of giving and hopes her generosity is contagious. She sets an example with her support of numerous local organizations and encourages people to join her in shaping the face and spirit of the community through charitable giving.
“You can’t do it alone,” she said. “We’re very fortunate in Boca to have so many generous people.”
Lynn family gifts have transformed Lynn University. In 1990, the College of Boca Raton received a donation to build the Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn Residence Center, a 93,000-square-foot dorm to house 300 students and a health and fitness center.
The College of Boca Raton was renamed Lynn University in 1991. “It made me feel really special to have a school in the Lynn family name. It makes me feel good that it’s benefiting others.”
In 1994, the Lynns donated another substantial gift that quadrupled the size of the campus library. The Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn Library offers access to millions of journal articles online and over 180,000 streaming videos, audio clips, CDs and DVDs as well as over 365,000 e-book/print book titles.
Mrs. Lynn applied her own design talents at Lynn by creating The Christine Room, which evolved into the very popular Christine’s, a market-fresh cafe open to all. Its new home in the university center has the vibe of an upscale pub, with comfy booths, an outdoor terrace and a bar offering comfort food, beer and wine.
“It’s fun to see new donors who believe in the school and want to donate to something that is close to their hearts. It’s exciting to me because I find that it’s everyone together that makes something very successful, not just one person or two, but the whole community.”
Lynn Senior Vice President for Development and Administration Gregory J. Malfitano said, “Christine is a very kind, caring, compassionate individual who inspires people to feel good about themselves. She is the spirit of Lynn University and has helped make this institution the special place it is, not only by her own generosity but by setting an example for others to help the university.”
Mrs. Lynn knows her friends take pleasure in giving as well. “I was happy to hear that Elaine Wold had given a donation to the university center. She likes the idea of Christine’s, so she wanted an Elaine’s dining area.”
“I said, ‘Elaine, you and I are going to have to compete for who’s the best cook. We’ll have to put our aprons on.’ And she started laughing. But I think it’s wonderful. I think everybody who’s contributed to this building is doing something really special for the school and for the students.”
“Mrs. Lynn’s generosity and spirit of giving never cease to amaze us, but even greater than her giving is her leadership,” said Lynn President Kevin M. Ross. “We are so grateful for the unmatchable role Mrs. Lynn has played in our university’s many achievements. She truly is our strongest supporter.”