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“FGCU fits the bill for my gifting in several ways. It is actively growing and forward-looking in its curricula. Its new health-professions facility is breathtaking in design, and has excellent and extensive simulation facilities and up-to-date laboratory equipment.
I am delighted to be part of the FGCU family.”

— Dr. Elaine Nicpon Marieb, whose donation of $5 million led
to naming the new health-professions building Marieb Hall


Algenol Biofuels Inc. gave science, technology, engineering and mathematics a big boost at the University when it was announced in early January that the alternative fuel-producing company had pledged $250,000 for a STEM scholarship fund carrying its name.

The University officially named the Student Union the Harvey and Janet Cohen Center at a Jan. 10 ceremony saluting the couple’s support, tossing in free refreshments for students who wore buttons labeled “Harv’s Place,” as the center is affectionately known.

The University earned another environmentally friendly feather in its cap when it earned Tree Campus USA designation, thanks to campaigning efforts by student Keishla Negron. FGCU was one of four institutions of higher learning nationwide to stage a tree-planting event in late 2011 and early 2012, when members of the Arbor Day Foundation helped the campus community plant 40 trees on the Library Lawn.

The new state-of-the-art, $28 million health professions building was opened and quickly christened as Marieb Hall in honor of a $5-million leadership gift from Dr. Elaine Nicpon Marieb, an internationally published author of college science textbooks. Dr. Marieb’s gift would set up two endowments, one of which would go directly to benefit activities in the College of Health Professions and the other to set up a scholarship fund for nontraditional students in the college.

Naples developer Scott Lutgert, appointed first chair of the FGCU Board of Trustees by Gov. Jeb Bush at the board’s 1991 inception and re-elected to subsequent terms since, retired from the board in January. Larry Hart, then Lee County’s assistant tax collector, was elected chair, and Robbie Roepstorff, president of Edison National Bank, was the new vice chair.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) announced in February it had earned reaccreditation by the International Association of Counseling Services.

Suzanne Specht, assistant director and certified business analyst with the Small Business Development Center, was one of three Women Making History honored by the American Business Women’s Association Neapolitan Chapter in March at a luncheon ceremony at the Naples Hilton.

With students logging more than 1 million service hours to community organizations in the 15 years since the University’s birth, it was no surprise FGCU made the Corporation for National and Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction announced in March.

In an effort to strengthen FGCU’s voice in Tallahassee, Eagle Advocacy was founded. This official grassroots network of alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the University is dedicated to providing information to individuals who are interested in helping FGCU gain support for its legislative agenda among state government officials.

In what was proclaimed as a University milestone in its commitment to environmental sustainability, community partnerships, public service and civic responsibility, FGCU’s student Food Foresters planted fruit trees March 23 between the Kleist Health Education Building and Sugden Welcome Center. The FGCU Food Forest was touted as a place for students, faculty, staff and community to come together to learn about and move toward a more sustainable future while creating a stronger sense of community on campus. In fact, her work with the FGCU Food Forest would later in the year earn junior environmental studies major Kelly Walsh recognition as a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact.

2012 was arguably the best overall year to that point for FGCU Athletics with Atlantic Sun regular-season and conference championships earned by both men’s and women’s soccer (both for the second consecutive year), women’s basketball and softball, while volleyball won the regular-season title after a four-year drought and swimming and diving took its fourth consecutive Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association crown.

Led by Karl Smesko, who would be named Kay Yow National Coach of the Year to go with his then-third Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year honor, the women’s basketball team became the first ever to go 18-0 in A-Sun play and went on to earn an NCAA Tournament berth. Senior Courtney Chihil, one of the team’s captains, would be named A-Sun Co-Female Student-Athlete of the Year, while the team ranked ninth nationally on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division I Top 25 Team Honor Roll with a cumulative 3.47 grade-point average. The volleyball team earned a similar honor — the American Volleyball Coaches Association Academic Award — with an almost identical 3.46 team GPA.

The academic laurels continued to roll in for the athletics department when the swimming and diving team’s similar 3.4 team GPA earned it a Team Scholar All-America award from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, the fifth consecutive such award for the Eagles. Freshman Emma Svensson’s 4.0 GPA in economics earned her an individual Scholar All-America Award to go with her Mid-Major All-American status from CollegeSwimming.com as a three-event qualifier in the 2012 NCAA Championships. Not to be outperformed in the classroom, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams would earn Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Team honors with 3.44 and 3.62 GPAs, respectively. Senior men’s player Steve Binninger, a bioengineering major, would become the first FGCU student athlete inducted into the Student Hall of Fame.

While the women’s basketball Eagles would lose to St. Bonaventure in their NCAA shot, the women’s softball Eagles took advantage of their second A-Sun title and first postseason eligibility to upset the University of Florida in the NCAA Tournament, earning the University’s historic first Division I postseason victory in any sport. Also, FGCU’s Division II Hockey Club won the American Collegiate Hockey Association championship with five consecutive victories at Germain Arena.

The University announced in March that its environmental commitment had made it a finalist in the Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards competition, a national contest among colleges and universities to earn the title of “Most Innovative Climate Leader.” In May, it was announced FGCU was one of 10 winners of the award that was presented in June at the Climate Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.

Northern Trust showed its support for student leadership when it was announced that the investment company had pledged $100,000 to create an endowed scholarship fund, including a $25,000 endowed scholarship for members of the Lead Team at FGCU, a service-oriented board dedicated to enhancing the potential of student organizations.

FGCU’s international impact was front and center in April with two more scholarship funds announced. The Naples chapter of the St. Andrew’s Society of Southwest Florida created a study-abroad scholarship fund to support students studying in Scotland. Since 2009, the society’s support had enabled FGCU to award significant scholarships to three students so they could learn firsthand about the country. Also, the African Network of Southwest Florida, formed in 2004 to enhance the quality of life for locals of African descent, worked with FGCU International Services to establish a scholarship fund for students pursuing an education to help benefit the African people.

President Wilson G. Bradshaw shared the stage in March with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice when he moderated a question-and-answer session after Rice’s speech in the Naples Town Hall Distinguished Speakers Series at The Ritz-Carlton in Naples.

Zach Katkin, a 2007 graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences and CEO and co-founder of marketing and web development startup Atilus, was named the 2012 inductee into the FGCU Alumni of Distinction Society. The Alumni Association also welcomed Lisi Lau, Jenna Martin, Jessica Essary, Kimberly Patterson and Braxton Rhone into the Soaring Eagles Society.

The FGCU Student Hall of Famers announced in April were Steven Binninger, Jennifer Dake, Megan Denny, Allison Gagliardi, Monica Goldie, Ashley Hoffner, Caitlin Poor and Malissa Sanon.

FGCU was one of 16 organizations or individuals honored nationally with an Arbor Day Award by the Arbor Day Foundation for its efforts in tree planting, conservation and stewardship. The award was given April 28 at a ceremony at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Neb.

FGCU pitcher Ricky Knapp led the baseball team with an 8-4 record that earned him Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year honors, joining Chris Sale and Richard Bleier as previous Eagles to earn that award.

Victory was sweet for chocolatier Norman Love of Norman Love Confections, who earned the FGCU Small Business Development Center’s inaugural Distinguished Entrepreneur Award. The award honors businesses in the five-county region nominated by community members for achievement, innovation and local impact.

The FGCU Foundation Board elevated John Fumagalli, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida region of Northern Trust, to chair and Charles Winton, owner of Estero Bay Chevrolet, to vice chair at its June meeting.

In July, Sgt. Brian Jones, who oversaw the traffic safety program for the University Police Department, was in Orlando to receive UPD’s first-place award in the 2011 Florida Law Enforcement Challenge for its efforts promoting safe driving.

FGCU swimmers Karen Vilorio and Danielle Beaubrun and head coach Neal Studd made University history as FGCU’s first participants in the Olympic Games during qualifying races in London. Vilorio swam for her native Honduras, while Beaubrun represented St. Lucia and was coached by Studd. Meanwhile, former Eagle pitcher Chris Sale made Major League Baseball’s brightest individual stage when he was selected for the first time to the American League All-Star Team.

The FGCU Campus Food Pantry was established in August under the guidance of founder Jo Anna Bradshaw, wife of President Wilson G. Bradshaw. Besides Mrs. Bradshaw, others on the steering committee that helped launch the pantry were Debora Haring, Maureen Jenny, Eliza Juezan, Michele Kroffke, Jessica Rhea, Dr. Maria Roca, Lauren Strunk and Dr. Michele Yovanovich. 

In September, FGCU was recruited for an alliance with The Partnership for Collier’s Future Economy and the Horizon Council to bring regional clout to a concentrated effort to attract new businesses to Southwest Florida.

William J. Mitsch, a decorated wetlands scientist who earned an international reputation in ecological engineering during a 27-year career as a professor at The Ohio State University, in October was appointed director of the new Everglades Wetland Research Park in Naples as the Juliet C. Sproul Chair for Southwest Florida Habitat Restoration and Management.

FGCU’s newest residence hall was introduced in late October in South Village. Six-story Osprey Hall was built to house 533 residents in its 180,000 square feet.

In November, the College of Education announced it had been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

The year ended with the Dec. 12 dedication of Charles B. Edwards Hall, named for the former chair of the Florida Board of Regents who was instrumental in bringing FGCU to Southwest Florida and who helped form the original University Foundation in 1993.

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WELCOME TO HARV'S PLACE

On Jan. 12, the expanded student union building was dedicated as the Harvey and Janet Cohen Center in honor of the Naples couple who were huge university supporters. The Cohen Center is affectionately nicknamed “Harv’s Place.”

HALLMARK OF HEALTH EDUCATION
HALLMARK OF HEALTH EDUCATION

Academic Building 8 was built. It’s now Marieb Hall, the building that houses the College of Health Professions and Social Work, named after major donor Dr. Elaine Nicpon Marieb.

FOOD FOREST FOR THOUGHT
FOOD FOREST FOR THOUGHT

FGCU students established the Food Forest, a half-acre garden aimed at teaching the principles of regional, sustainable agriculture. In what was proclaimed as a University milestone in its commitment to environmental sustainability, community partnerships, public service and civic responsibility, FGCU’s student Food Foresters planted fruit trees March 23 between the Kleist Health Education Building and Sugden Welcome Center.

ROOTED IN BEAUTY
ROOTED IN BEAUTY

The University earned another environmentally friendly feather in its cap when it received Tree Campus USA designation, thanks to campaigning efforts by student Keishla Negron. FGCU was one of four institutions of higher learning nationwide to stage a tree-planting event in late 2011 and early 2012, when members of the Arbor Day Foundation helped the campus community plant 40 trees on the Library Lawn.

WOMEN ON A RUN IN A-SUN
WOMEN ON A RUN IN A-SUN

Led by Karl Smesko, who was named Kay Yow National Coach of the Year to go with his then-third Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year honor, the women’s basketball team became the first ever to go 18-0 in A-Sun play and went on to earn an NCAA Tournament berth.

DISTINCTIVELY SUCCESSFUL
DISTINCTIVELY SUCCESSFUL

Zach Katkin, a 2007 graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences and CEO and co-founder of marketing and web development startup Atilus, was named the 2012 inductee into the FGCU Alumni of Distinction Society.

ECONOMIC STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

In September, FGCU was recruited for an alliance with The Partnership for Collier’s Future Economy and the Horizon Council to bring regional clout to a concentrated effort to attract new businesses to Southwest Florida.