Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) is a public university in Fort Myers, Florida. It belongs to the twelve-member State University System of Florida as its second youngest member. The university was established on May 3, 1991, and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award 58 different types of bachelor's, 25 different master's, six doctoral degrees, and twelve graduate certificates. All of the university's undergraduate engineering degrees are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
Seal of Florida Gulf Coast University
|Established||May 3, 1991|
|Endowment||$84.6 million (2017)|
|President||Michael V. Martin|
|Provost||James L. Llorens|
10501 FGCU Blvd South,
|Campus||Suburban800 acres (320 ha)|
|Nickname||Eagles, Dunk City|
|NCAA Division I – ASUN|
|Sports||Florida Gulf Coast Eagles|
|Mascot||Azul the Eagle|
Location of FGCU
Florida Gulf Coast University (the United States)
The university's academics are divided into six main colleges: U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering, Lutgert College of Business, Marieb College of Health & Human Services, College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, and Honors College. The prominent schools and departments within the colleges include; Bower School of Music & the Arts, The Emergent Technologies Institute (ETI), School of Nursing, and School of Resort & Hospitality Management.
In 1991, Charles B. Edwards, chair of the Board of Regents, lobbied the Florida Legislature to pass legislation recommending that Florida's 10th state university be built in the Florida Southwest Region. Florida governor Lawton Chiles signed the bill authorizing the school in May 1991.
The Board of Regents selected a 760-acre (310 ha) site in the south Fort Myers area donated by Ben Hill Griffin III, on which to build the University. On April 26, 1993, Roy E. McTarnaghan, who served as the executive vice chancellor for the State University System of Florida, was appointed president of the yet-unnamed “New University of Southwest Florida.” Founding president McTarnaghan and a small number of employees set up temporary base in downtown Fort Myers in a space provided by the Lee County Commission. The school was officially established by then-governor Lawton Chiles in 1991, although FGCU commemorates August 25, 1997; the first time classes were held on campus.
Expansion and growth
In July 1999, William C. Merwin became FGCU's second president. Merwin sought to create a traditional four-year university. Being an active fundraiser, Merwin raised more than $250 million for the university in a short eight-year period, rapidly expanding the school. New buildings included Lutgert College of Business, Holmes Hall (U.A. Whitaker School of Engineering), Whitaker Hall, Cohen Center (the student union), Alico Arena and an expansion of on-campus housing. Student enrollment at FGCU increased from approximately 2,000 in its first year, to almost 15,000 as of 2017. In 2007, Dr. Wilson G. Bradshaw became the university's third president. Bradshaw announced that he would step down after the 2016–17 academic year, and the Board of Trustees selected Michael V. Martin to replace Bradshaw in 2017.
Responding to a challenge for state universities to improve their four-year graduation rate, FGCU in 2016 introduced a program called Soar in 4, which reimburses out-of-pocket tuition expenses for the freshman year of students who graduate within four years and meet certain other criteria.
Mike Martin, former chancellor of Louisiana State University and the Colorado State University System, succeeded Bradshaw as Florida Gulf Coast University president on July 1, 2017. The transition from Bradshaw to Martin came during the university's celebration of its 20th anniversary.
In 2017, the College of Health Professions & Social Work was renamed the Marieb College of Health & Human Services after a $10 million gift from donor Elaine Nicpon Marieb, for whom Marieb Hall was named after her original $5 million pledge.
FGCU's 760-acre (3.1 km2) campus is located in unincorporated Southwest Florida in Lee County, 21 miles (34 km) from Naples and south of Fort Myers. It is within San Carlos Park's fire district and uses a Fort Myers postal code. The 150-acre (0.61 km2) center of the campus, known as the Academic Core, contains the buildings housing most of the school's classrooms and labs. There are three separate housing areas on the periphery of the campus: North Lake, South Village, and West Lake Village. North Lake Village overlooks a lake with recreational activities including boating and water skiing, with a new boardwalk and dining facility opening along its waterfront in 2017.
The Lutgert College of Business building opened in 2008, Holmes Hall (which houses the U.A. Whitaker School of Engineering) opened in 2009, and in 2008, the Herbert J. Sugden Hall (home to the School of Resort & Hospitality Management) opened. Academic Building 7 for the College of Arts and Sciences was completed in 2010 and named Seidler Hall in 2016 after donors Lee and Gene Seidler. In 2012, Academic Building 8 was completed. Now Marieb Hall, it was dedicated to Elaine Nicpon Marieb in 2012. The $24 million, 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) building was designed for the College of Health Professions, which in 2017 was renamed the Marieb College of Health & Human Services after Marieb's second transformative gift, an additional $10 million pledge.
Other construction projects include expansion of the Cohen Center (the student union building also affectionately known as "Harv's Place" in honor of donor Harvey Cohen), an addition to the fine arts building, a 2017 expansion of Alico Arena, an addition of one of the largest solar panel fields at a university, and the construction of academic building 9. FGCU also opened a new facility a few miles northeast of campus in 2016, the Emergent Technologies Institute.
FGCU has created the Everglades Wetland Research Park (EWRP), housed in the Kapnick Education and Research Center on the campus of the Naples Botanical Garden in Naples, Florida, approximately 35 miles south of the main FGCU campus. The EWRP provides teaching, research, and service related to wetland, river, coastal science and ecological engineering.
There are three other satellite campus locations: Naples, the Atrium in Fort Myers and Herald Court Centre in Punta Gorda, where continuing education and lifelong learning classes are held. The FGCU Board of Trustees voted in January 2010 to assume ownership of 500 acres (2.0 km2) in Buckingham. Located between East Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres, the land already contains over 60 buildings and housing for 300 people. Originally, the property operated as Gulf Coast Center, a residential facility for people with developmental disabilities. After the state phased out such large-scale institutions, the FGCU Board of Trustees accepted the land donation. It is used for off-campus team-building exercises and storage, among other things.
In 2007, the university purchased the former Bonita Beach Plantation Resort in Bonita Springs for use as a marine research laboratory. The Norm and Nancy Vester Marine and Environmental Science Research Field Station site has 10 boat slips and is located on Estero Bay. The site includes laboratories, offices, apartments for visiting researchers and a classroom.
Since its founding, 400 acres (1.6 km2) on the main campus have been set aside for environmental preservation. FGCU also has constructed a number of lakes on the campus that are home to large numbers of wildlife; the lakes also help promote the ecology of the area. Environmental sustainability is the principal goal expressed in the university charter. Seidler Hall, the new facility housing science laboratories and classrooms for the College of Arts and Sciences, achieved platinum certification, the highest level awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The university's 15-acre (61,000 m2) solar field supplies about 85 percent of the energy needed to operate Holmes, Lutgert and Seidler halls, reducing FGCU's reliance on Florida Power & Light Co. by 18 percent. An ice thermal storage plant sends chilled water through an underground loop that cools campus buildings, saving more than $1.64 million over five years. The newest residence halls — Everglades, Biscayne, Palmetto, Osprey and Eagle — heat their water via rooftop solar panels.
The Library Complex is located on FGCU's main campus in Fort Myers. In the 2016-17 school year, the main facility accommodated 1 million visitors for the first time. The library has more than 1.5 million items in its collection, which can be accessed by students or any patron with a library card. The library also subscribes to more than 400 databases to allow students and patrons access to more than 700 million full-text articles. The east wing of the library includes a 115-seat computer lab.
In 2014, the Collection Analysis Project (CAP) began so that the FGCU library could determine what parts of the collection were being utilized by students and what could be removed in order to make way for various new projects within the library. In addition to its various print and electronic collections, the library also houses various art pieces, including seven signed lithographs by Salvador Dali. The Archives and Special Collections unit of the library has held various exhibitions since the fall of 2013. The list of past exhibits may be found on the library's website. Other resources located within the library complex are:
- ArtLab Gallery
- Center for Academic Achievement
- Lucas Center for Faculty Development
- Veterans Space
- Writing Center
|College of Arts and Sciences||1995|
|Marieb College of Health & Human Services||1997|
|College of Professional Studies||1997|
|College of Education||2001|
|U.A. Whitaker School of Engineering||2005|
|Lutgert College of Business||2008|
Florida Gulf Coast University academics are divided into five colleges. In 2017–18, new freshmen averaged an ACT composite score of 23.3, a combined math and reading average SAT score of 1143, and a high school grade point average of 3.9.
The Lutgert College of Business is an AACSB-accredited institution, offering undergraduate degrees in accounting, computer information systems, economics, finance, management, marketing and a new degree in entrepreneurship. The latter major falls in line with the university's Institute for Entrepreneurship that mentors students and prospective business owners and coordinates a program through Veterans Florida that helps military veterans launch business plans; and the Small Business Development Center, which offers counseling and other services to regional businesses. The college offers the following graduate degrees: accounting and taxation, computer information systems, and business administration (both traditional and executive). FGCU also added a real estate undergraduate degree, which began in the fall of 2012.
The Resort and Hospitality Management Department offers several majors, with students getting the opportunity to gain supervised field work experience at one of many resorts and spas in the area. Professional golf management is a unique program with limited access (it's the only remaining Professional Golfers Association–certified program in Florida and one of just 19 in the country), much like the nursing, music and athletic training programs.
FGCU also has a unique requirement prior to graduation — University Colloquium: A Sustainable Future. The aim of this colloquium is to educate graduates on the importance of ecology, preservation and sustainability. FGCU also makes service learning a graduation requirement, and students have contributed more than 2.2 million volunteer hours in the community since the university opened in 1997.
FGCU's College of Engineering also offers civil, environmental, bioengineering and software engineering, the last of which began to phase out the overlapping computer science degree in 2011. Holmes Hall was built to facilitate the engineering programs, along with the Emergent Technologies Institute. FGCU's bachelor's programs in bioengineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, and software engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. A Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) program began in fall 2017.
In 2015-16, nearly $10 million in funds were granted for research. Research institutes include the Biotechnology Research Group; the Lucas Center for Real Estate; Coastal Watershed Institute; Center for Environmental & Sustainability Education; FGCU Center for Leadership and Innovation; Florida Institute of Government;' Center for Positive Aging; Whitaker Center for Science, Mathematics & Technology Education; Institute for Youth and Justice Studies, and the Regional Economic Research Institute. Since FGCU first opened, the total funds awarded for research has amounted to $204.8 million as of 2016.
|U.S. News & World Report||78|
|Master's University class|
U.S. News & World Report ranks FGCU as tied for 78th among all regional universities in the southern United States in 2019, and tied for 29th among public ones.
FGCU's athletics teams are known as the Eagles. FGCU completed the four-year transition to NCAA Division I for all athletics programs in 2011. The Eagles currently compete in the Division I Atlantic Sun Conference (ASUN), which they joined in 2007.
FGCU intercollegiate athletics offers:
- Men's and women's golf
- Men's and women's tennis
- Men's and women's basketball
- Women's softball
- Men's baseball
- Men's and women's cross country
- Women's volleyball
- Men's and women's soccer
- Women's swimming and diving
- Women's beach volleyball
FGCU is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, and a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, as well as the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association. FGCU plays its men's and women's basketball games at Alico Arena and its baseball games at Swanson Stadium, with other on-campus facilities including softball and soccer fields, tennis courts and an aquatics complex for intercollegiate competition.
The FGCU baseball team has sent several players to professional leagues, the most famous of whom is all-star pitcher Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox. Casey Coleman, also a pitcher, was the first Eagle to make the major leagues, with the Chicago Cubs. Pitcher Justin Stiver was the first Eagle athlete drafted by a professional team in any sport, picked by the Houston Astros in 2006.
On March 24, 2007, FGCU's women's basketball team ended its 35–1 season with a loss in the Division II National Championship to Southern Connecticut State University. One year later, in 2008, the women's basketball team qualified for the WNIT, becoming the first team to qualify for the WNIT in its first season of Division I sports. During the 2008 WNIT Tourney, the team became the first Atlantic Sun Conference team to win a post-season game since 1998, when Florida International University won in the women's NCAA tourney. The women's team has since won the Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season and/or tournament championship each year since (except for 2010) with annual postseason appearances either in the NCAA Tournament or the WNIT, in which the Eagles finished second nationally in 2016 after losing to South Dakota in the championship game.
In 2012, FGCU's first year of full Division I postseason eligibility, the men's team played in the Atlantic Sun Championship final, losing to Belmont. In 2013, the team won the Atlantic Sun championship, beating top-seeded Mercer in the conference tournament final earning the automatic invitation to the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. In its first-ever tournament appearance, the No. 15 seeded Eagles upset the No. 2 seeded Georgetown Hoyas in the first round of the tournament and the No. 7 seeded San Diego State Aztecs in the second round. The Eagles became the seventh No. 15 seed to advance to the round of 32 and the first to advance to the Sweet 16. The Eagles went on to win two more Atlantic Sun Conference championships in 2016 and 2017.
On-campus housing is made up of three sections: North Lake Village, South Village and West Lake Village. North Lake Village is located on an 80-acre lake and features apartment-style residence halls with waterfront recreation. West Lake Village was previously owned by American Campus Communities and formerly called College Club Apartments. Housing 501 students, it was bought by the University for $17 million and the apartments officially became part of FGCU Housing and Residence Life in October 2010. Themed housing is available, such as Honors and Wellness communities. South Village (SoVi) is composed of suite-style residence halls with five buildings: Everglades Hall, Biscayne Hall, Palmetto Hall, Osprey Hall and Eagle Hall, housing a total of more than 1,720 first-year students.
In the summer of 2013, South Village opened the SoVi Pool, a resort-style pool featuring a "beach-entry" and built-in pool volleyball court. FGCU enhanced the North Lake Village complex in 2017 by opening a new lakefront boardwalk and dining facility.
In total, there are annually more than 3,200 students living in both North Lake Village and SoVi. Freshmen are not required to live on campus; however, on-campus housing is usually filled to capacity every year.
Individual halls sponsor their own activities and socials, and leadership positions are available in the Resident Hall Association.
A commonly used form of transportation on campus is called the Eagle Express. This shuttle operates daily, taking students from their residence halls to classes and activities around campus.
Florida Gulf Coast University has 28 fraternity and sorority chapters on campus. Greek life is governed by the Panhellenic Council, the Interfraternity Council, National PanHellenic Council and the Multicultural Greek Council. There is no separate Greek housing on campus.
The official Campus Recreation department organizes several day and overnight trips annually, including rock climbing, skydiving, white-water rafting, sea kayaking and more. There are also 27 official sports clubs on campus, many of which engage in intercollegiate competition with their peers.
There are more than 250 Registered Student Organizations at FGCU, including Student Government, which appropriates funding for many of them.
The university has operated public broadcasting stations WGCU television and WGCU-FM since 1996, when the license was transferred from the University of South Florida in Tampa. WGCU is a PBS member, while WGCU-FM is an NPR member and broadcasts news, talk and jazz. FGCU 360 Now is a website that features university news and complements the official university periodical, FGCU 360 Magazine, which was rebranded in 2016 after originally publishing as Pinnacle. Eagle News is the school's official student media group, publishing a weekly newspaper, a website that's updated daily and TV/radio programming when classes are in session.
- Matt Caldwell: Florida state representative
- Ross Chastain: NASCAR race car driver for teams such as Premium Motorsports, Kaulig Racing and Niece Motorsports
- Dane Eagle: Florida state representative
- Jacob Barnes: Major League Baseball pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers
- Brandon Goodwin: NBA Basketball Player with the Denver Nuggets
- Richard Bleier: Major League Baseball pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles
- Sherwood Brown: Professional Basketball Player
- Don Carman: retired Major League Baseball pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies
- Casey Coleman: professional baseball pitcher
- Chase Fieler: professional basketball Player
- Courtney Jolly: former professional monster truck driver
- Derek Lamely: professional golfer
- Priscila Navarro: concert pianist
- Chris Sale: Major League Baseball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox
- Reinhold D. Schmieding: founder and CEO of Arthrex; awarded an honorary doctorate
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