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About FGCU at 20

Florida Gulf Coast 20th Anniversary University logo

“It started with land and a grand plan.”  These words are the foundation of Florida Gulf Coast University’s new marketing brand — The FGCU Effect — and they describe the birth of Florida’s 10th state university on a 760-acre spread of pinewoods and wetlands between Fort Myers and Naples just off the southwest coast of the Sunshine State.

“We’ve done plenty in twenty.”  These are the words of Dr. Tony Barringer, FGCU associate provost and associate vice president for faculty affairs, who tossed out the catchy phrase at a meeting of the University’s 20th Anniversary Committee. Indeed, these words succinctly describe what Dr. Barringer, who himself joined FGCU in its inaugural year, 1997, has witnessed firsthand through two decades.

With a commitment to student success, sustainability, technology and innovation inside and outside the classroom, FGCU has proven itself to be a comparatively young, but institutionally confident performer on the higher-education spectrum. From academics to athletics, from infrastructure to impact, from our faculty, staff and students to our Foundation friends and alumni, we have enjoyed two glorious decades of first changing our region’s dynamic, and now changing the nation and world.

FLorida Gulf Coast University founders stand next to Florida Gulf Coast University land

At 20 years old, we simply cannot wait until we earn our silver medal at 25 to celebrate two decades of history. As you navigate this commemorative website, you’ll see, read and learn about the people, places and plaudits behind our rapid-but-responsible growth and its unmistakable effect — The FGCU Effect.

What started with “land and a grand plan” has in fact grown into “doing plenty in twenty.” We are proud of our past, but always focused intently on our future … with 20/20 vision, you might say in the spirit of the anniversary. As Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, once stated, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as ‘improvement,’ ‘achievement’ and ‘success’ have no meaning.”

Those are words FGCU always will live by.

Then & Now: Alico Arena

Alico 2002 and 2016