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“FGCU is the epicenter of community life, culturally and educationally.
The University has done so much for the community. There is not
an area the University does not touch.”

— Donald Lesch, vice chair of the FGCU Foundation, on why he and his wife, Sheryl,
established a scholarship endowed fund in their name for environmental studies


FGCU’s regional reach expanded this year to a 500-acre tract between east Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres that was the former site of Gulf Coast Village, a medical residential complex that had been closed by the state. The FGCU Board of Trustees voted to assume ownership of the property, known as the Buckingham Complex, which is becoming a popular retreat site with a ropes course and plenty of space for the FGCU cross-country program.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) announced in February it had received accreditation from the International Association of Counseling Services, Inc., based in Alexandria, Va., for demonstrating excellence in counseling performance and professional development.

President Wilson G. Bradshaw announced at the President’s Celebration fundraiser in March that the families of Vincent and Illona Wolanin and Dr. John and Liz Kagan would establish the $100,000 Rockin’ Christmas Endowed Scholarship Fund Founded by PrivateSky Aviation Services, Inc. The fund’s name stems from the fact much of the money was raised by the Wolanins’ daughter, Whitney Wolanin, through her Rockin’ Christmas musical performances with her All-Star Band.

Also in March, FGCU joined esteemed music schools and conservatories worldwide as an All-Steinway School by entering a partnership with the Steinway Piano Society.

Computer science professor Dr. Janusz Zalewski was one of only five researchers in the country awarded a NASA 2010 Summer Faculty Fellowship. He spent eight weeks at the NASA Ames Research Center in California working on a project for early assessment of abnormal conditions and estimation of remaining life of space-mission components and subsystems, then presented results of his work at the Kennedy Space Center.

FGCU Foundation vice chair Donald Lesch and his wife, Sheryl, residents of Sanibel, established an endowed scholarship fund in their name for students majoring in environmental studies or environmental science, with preference given to employees and family members of the three wildlife-advocacy groups based on the island.

In April, environmental studies graduate Ricky Pires was welcomed into the Alumni of Distinction Society for her work with the Wings of Hope Foundation and Florida Panther Posse educational program. Pires joined previous Alumni of Distinction honorees Laura Holquist (2009), Nola Theiss (2008), Guenther Gosch (2007), Robert Mulhere (2006), Dr. Allen Weiss (2005) and Dr. John Little (2004). Meanwhile, four alumni — Scott Guelcher, Lt. Spencer Roach, Jonel Gomez and Magali Solimano — were the inaugural inductees of the Soaring Eagles Society, which honors graduates of the past 10 years who have made a difference.

The 2010 FGCU Student Hall of Fame included Jomayra Cestero, Kathleen Equite, Emily Hennessey, Frank Losada, Andrea McCrary, Ysatiz Pinero, Casey Smith, Cady Walker and Jarrett Yingling.

A $50,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation covered the tuition of five teachers from Title 1 schools to pursue master’s degrees in educational technology at FGCU.  And President Bradshaw celebrated a new partnership between the University’s PGA Golf Management Program and The First Tee of Naples/Collier — through which FGCU students serve as volunteer instructors for course credit — by designating a scholarship for a graduate of The First Tee who enrolls in the PGA Golf Management Program. Tara McKenna, then newly appointed director of the PGA program, announced that Naples High School graduate Alex Giguere would be the first scholarship recipient.

In June, Donald Lesch assumed the chair of the FGCU Foundation Board with Jim Knupp serving as vice chair. Meanwhile, the Naples Garden Club rallied around the success of the Harvey Kapnick Education and Research Center at the Naples Botanical Gardens by donating $100,000 to establish a fellowship endowed fund. The Naples Garden Club Fellowship would go to upperclass or graduate students majoring in environment-related studies and doing research at the Kapnick Center.

The University’s Small Business Development Center took the lead assisting regional small-business owners affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil-spill disaster by facilitating the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program activated by Gov. Charlie Crist. The program designated loans up to $25,000 for small businesses while they awaited compensation for economic damages from the oil spill. In May, the SBDC received full national accreditation by the Association of Small Business Development Centers through the Florida SBDC network, which FGCU’s center joined in 1997.

An innovative partnership with State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota  announced in August provided a scholarship program for graduates of SCF’s Collegiate School — a sixth-through-12th grade institution — to seek bachelor’s degrees at FGCU after already earning associate in arts degrees. That same month, FGCU also announced an agreement to explore areas of common interest with the Jackson Laboratory, a Bar Harbor, Maine-based world leader in genetics and genomics research; and that the U.A. Whitaker School of Engineering baccalaureate programs in bioengineering, civil engineering and environmental engineering had been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.

An athletics milestone was reached in August when former Eagles pitcher Casey Coleman, who had been drafted in the 15th round by the Chicago Cubs in 2008, became the first FGCU player in Major League Baseball when the Cubs called him up from the minors in August. Coleman joined his father and grandfather, both named Joe, as the only family with three generations of pitchers in major-league history.

Meanwhile, Coleman’s successor as Eagles ace, junior pitcher Chris Sale, was named the Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year after going 11-0 and was selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft as the 13th overall pick by the Chicago White Sox. He would become only the sixth player in major league history to make the big-league roster the same year he’s drafted, getting the call to the majors just two days after Coleman. Sale was the program’s first All-American and the Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year.

The growing success of the athletics program continued with Atlantic Sun Conference regular-season championships in baseball — with Coach Dave Tollett winning his third consecutive Coach of the Year Award — and men’s and women’s soccer, while the swimmers and divers repeated as the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association champs, led by Coach Neal Studd.

The new Academic Building 7 (renamed Seidler Hall in 2016), a 62,000-square-foot, four-story structure housing the labs and classrooms for the College of Arts and Sciences, received Platinum-level LEED certification — the highest level awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council — for its environmental efficiency.  And the Florida Board of Governors backed the approval of the FGCU Board of Trustees for a doctoral degree in education with two concentrations: educational leadership, and curriculum and instruction.

Two Federal TRIO Student Support Services grants totaling $2.3 million over five years were announced in October by the Division of Student Affairs, earmarked for first-generation, low-income and disabled students. One of the grants designated for science, technology, engineering and math majors was the only STEM grant awarded in Southwest Florida.

FGCU Athletics staged its first Night at the Nest fundraiser in Alico Arena and raised $32,000 for the program. The sixth edition in 2015 would bring in a record $567,000.

The piano students of professor Dr. Michael Baron excelled again at the Music Teachers National Association Competition in Bradenton in November, with freshman Priscila Navarro placing first in the Senior Division and joining fellow freshman Paul Wright to win the Piano Duet Division, while senior Hyae-jin Hwang captured the Young Artist Division.

FGCU Foundation board member Alan Korest, who with his wife, Marilyn, was instrumental in establishing the Bower School of Music and the Arts, was elected a Foundation Fellow at the December meeting, joining Fay Biles, Barron Collier III and Ben Hill Griffin III with that distinction.

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ACADEMIC BUILDING 7 GETS NO. 1 LEED RATING

The new Academic Building 7 (renamed Seidler Hall in 2016), a 62,000-square-foot, four-story structure housing the labs and classrooms for the College of Arts and Sciences, received Platinum-level LEED certification — the highest level awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council — for its environmental efficiency.

THE MIGHTY CASEY
THE MIGHTY CASEY

An athletics milestone was reached in August when former Eagles pitcher Casey Coleman, who had been drafted in the 15th round by the Chicago Cubs in 2008, became the first FGCU player in Major League Baseball when the Cubs called him up from the minors in August. Coleman joined his father and grandfather, both named Joe, as the only family with three generations of pitchers in major-league history. Two days after the Cubs called up Coleman, former Eagle Chris Sale joined the Chicago White Sox, making the No. 13 overall pick only the sixth player to make the majors the same year he was drafted.

BIG BUY IN BUCKINGHAM
BIG BUY IN BUCKINGHAM

The FGCU Board of Trustees voted to assume ownership of 500 acres between east Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres. Today, the property is the home of the Eagle Challenge Course, a popular retreat site.

QUITE THE ROCKET SCIENTIST

Computer science professor Dr. Janusz Zalewski was one of only five researchers in the country awarded a NASA 2010 Summer Faculty Fellowship. He spent eight weeks at the NASA Ames Research Center in California working on a project for early assessment of abnormal conditions and estimation of remaining life of space-mission components and subsystems, then presented results of his work at the Kennedy Space Center.

DISTINCTIVE ALUMNI HONOR

Environmental studies graduate Ricky Pires was welcomed into the Alumni of Distinction Society in April for her work with the Wings of Hope Foundation and Florida Panther Posse educational program. Pires joined previous Alumni of Distinction honorees Laura Holquist (2009), Nola Theiss (2008), Guenther Gosch (2007), Robert Mulhere (2006), Dr. Allen Weiss (2005) and Dr. John Little (2004).