Since enrolling its first students in 1997, Florida Gulf Coast University has set student success as its highest priority. Our commitment to our students is reflected in the close, personal and collaborative relationships between faculty and students; in the state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories in which they learn; and in the university's commitment to service to the community, which has inspired and informed our curriculum.
While FGCU is known for its excellent facilities, we are equally well known for the close interaction with students that our faculty enjoy. Our students are service-minded, concerned about the environment and eager to make a difference. Take a look at just a few:
Yoni and Dani Papanikolaou are two brothers whose final project for their civic engagement class was designed to change the lives of children in the community. The idea was simple: bring art to disadvantaged children in the community. They collaborated with a local middle school, raised more than $6,000 from local businesses in support of the project and finally took 100 students to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. Fort Myers Middle School principal said of the project: "It lets kids know that they are capable [of] way more than they think. I am a firm believer that the arts help define what kind of adults kids become." Yoni and Dani plan to continue the program.
Matthew Walzer, who is a sophomore in the FGCU Honors Program, has received national attention for challenging Nike to develop shoes for athletes with physical challenges. In 2012 he wrote a letter to Nike that said in part: "Out of all the challenges I have overcome in my life, there is one that I am still trying to master, tying my shoes. Cerebral palsy stiffens the muscles in the body. As a result I have flexibility in only one of my hands, which makes it impossible for me to tie my shoes." The results of Matthew's letter was unveiled this year-Nike's FLYEASE, which will bring a new level of independence to thousands, like Matthew, across the country. http://360.fgcu.edu/fgcu-honors-student-teams-with-nike-meets-lebron/
Christie Mauretour left her home in Haiti for the first time to major in mathematics at FGCU. She says that the transition was a little overwhelming, but that the Eagle Ambassadors and professors quickly made her feel at home and a part of the FGCU community. Christie enrolled in the Honors Program her second semester, and one of her professors challenged her to take on a research project. Since that time, Christie has presented her research at conferences across the country. She begins her graduate work in mathematics in the fall of 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuggcRUhC9Q
In less than 20 years, FGCU has made an indelible impact on Southwest Florida. We are a catalyst for the area's economy and a cultural hub for the community. Our campus and community serve as a living laboratory where life-improving discoveries are made. Our athletic teams energize the entire region. Our faculty challenge their students, and our students challenge their communities to do better. FGCU embraces differences in culture, background and beliefs and provides every individual the opportunity to pursue their academic goals. Diversity is essential and a key element to the university’s success.
Inspiring those who then inspire others