Phoenix residents Ed and Helen Korrick know what it means to give back. Their generosity has benefited Arizona State University for 29 years, encompassing such critical investments as a Presidential Professorship endowment that supports renowned ASU faculty member Philip R. Christensen, support for Sun Devil Athletics and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, as well as their membership in the President’s Club since 2006.
Ed and Helen show their devotion to ASU’s vision for a New American University by advancing the School of Earth and Space Exploration through their professorship, which allows Phil Christensen greater flexibility to pursue his research. When Ed’s 15-year-old grandson was very interested in science several years ago and expressed an interest in meeting Phil, Ed was able to arrange a meeting. What was supposed to be a 15-minute conversation extended into a three-hour discussion of the Mars Program.
“I will never forget how extremely generous he was,” Ed says. “I am so pleased to help him continue his research at ASU and I am glad he is still here.” Professor Christensen is one of the nation’s leading space instrument scientists. The Korricks’ professorship endowment allows him to advance his research and exploration initiatives. Also a Regents’ Professor, Christensen works to expand ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration through the building of instruments intended for use in places like Mars.
Ed’s experience in the retail industry stemmed from his father, Charles Korrick, who immigrated to America from Prussia at the turn of the 20th century to aid his brother, Sam, who immigrated in 1888 and settled in Phoenix in 1895. Sam opened the New York Store, a small dry goods store, in a building now occupied by the Phoenix Symphony offices.
Ed’s family was close with Frank Lloyd Wright, a famous architect and interior designer. Ed says Wright was at times supported by the Korrick family, who would often allow him to purchase goods on credit when he was struggling during the Great Depression.
In 1914, after Sam died and the population of Phoenix continued to grow, Charles, who by that time was the sole owner of the New York Store, built a bigger department store at First and Washington streets and named it Korricks. It was once considered the largest department store in Arizona and even contained its own soda fountain and tea room.
As Ed grew up in Phoenix, he nurtured a love of the symphony, perhaps extending from his own mother’s interests as a member of a group that was instrumental in the founding of the Phoenix Symphony in 1946. As a result, Ed continues to support the Phoenix Symphony today.
“My family moved to Arizona at the turn of the century when it was just a small town; we have watched the community grow,” Ed says. “You can’t live in a community and not participate, so it is appropriate for us to give back. I hope that my family will continue the legacy we’ve started at ASU because it has been an important part of our lives.”