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“As the community recognized the benefits of having a local university, enrollment by traditional students soared, leading to a need for traditional services, such as residence halls, campus recreation programs, student activities, organizations, clubs, leadership programs, day care and parking facilities. Students also needed academic advising, tutoring, a counseling center and a health clinic. … The University blossomed into a traditional campus with a well-developed distance-learning program, serving the diverse needs of both populations.”

— J. Michael Rollo, vice president for Student Affairs, in a story he wrote for the publication, “FGCU: The First Decade.”


Florida Gulf Coast University’s first full year on its main campus began with few buildings on its 760-acre expanse, and only one structure had a donor name attached: Ben Hill Griffin Hall, in honor of the agricultural icon who offered the site chosen to build the University, for whom Treeline Avenue was renamed along the stretch of the road leading to the campus entrances and who has been one of the University’s greatest benefactors and champions in the growth of infrastructure and academic advancement.

Student housing would open along the campus’ north border in August with the 250-bed North Lake Village residence hall along with a pool, volleyball courts and water sports offered as part of the lakeside complex. The place to eat on campus was The Eagle Café, a spot where students and staff could grab breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Family Resource Center welcomed its first preschoolers.

On Feb. 3, the Florida Division of Historical Resources concurred with the Board of Regents that Building 4 would be named for the late W. Thomas “Tommy” Howard, who lobbied state officials for years to bring a new university to Southwest Florida, and who was president of the founding board for the FGCU Foundation in 1993-94.

A student applying to attend the University for the 1998-99 academic year was quoted a total attendance estimate — which included tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation and personal expenses — of $7,300 if you lived “with parents,” or $10,745 if you lived on your own either on or off campus.

Also this year, the first Commencement would take place in May with 81 graduates earning FGCU diplomas. And in September, founding President Roy McTarnaghan announced he would retire May 1, 1999, having successfully led the building and development of Southwest Florida’s new state university.

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HONORING AN ICONIC DONOR

Ben Hill Griffin Hall was named in honor of Ben Hill Griffin III, the agricultural icon who offered the site chosen to build the University and for whom Treeline Avenue was renamed along the stretch of the road leading to the campus entrances. His contributions to the University’s infrastructure and academic growth have been immeasurable.

On Campus Housing Opens
On Campus Housing Opens

Student housing would open along the campus’ north border in August with the 250-bed North Lake Village residence hall along with a pool, volleyball courts and water sports offered as part of the lakeside complex. The place to eat on campus was The Eagle Café, a spot where students and staff could grab breakfast, lunch or dinner.

W. Thomas “Tommy” Howard Honored
W. Thomas “Tommy” Howard Honored

On Feb. 3, the Florida Division of Historical Resources concurred with the Board of Regents that Building 4 would be named for the late W. Thomas “Tommy” Howard, who lobbied state officials for years to bring a new university to Southwest Florida, and who was president of the founding board for the FGCU Foundation in 1993-94.

CHANGING THE GUARD
CHANGING THE GUARD

FGCU learned in September that its founding president, Roy McTarnaghan, would retire May 1, 1999.

HALLMARK OF PROGRESS
HALLMARK OF PROGRESS

One structure had a donor name attached: Ben Hill Griffin Hall, in honor of the agricultural icon who offered the site chosen to build the University and for whom Treeline Avenue was renamed along the stretch of the road leading to the campus entrances.

Family Resource Center Opens

The Family Resource Center welcomed its first preschoolers.

First Commencement Staged

The first Commencement would take place in May with 81 graduates earning FGCU diplomas.