Growth Continues Apace as New Academic Year Commences
FORT MYERS, FL - New faculty, two additional degree programs, more instructional and residential space and a major environmental initiative will enhance the learning experience for Florida Gulf Coast University's students this fall.
A record-setting 11,000 students, including 2,050 freshmen, are expected to arrive for classes when the fall semester begins Monday, Aug. 24.
"As demand for a quality university education continues to grow in Southwest Florida, FGCU strives to broaden its academic offerings and expand its resources," says President Wilson G. Bradshaw. "We are committed to providing the best education possible and enabling our students to flourish in an intellectually stimulating, socially responsible and culturally diverse environment."
Here's a sampling of what's new at FGCU this year:
EXPANDED FACULTY: With the increase in enrollment, the expansion of programs and a commitment to maintain high standards, 34 new faculty will join the returning 367 members. In all, close to 1,200 faculty and staff will greet FGCU's milestone enrollment of 11,000 students.
ADDITIONAL DEGREE PROGRAMS: To meet the needs of the region and to accommodate the growing student body, FGCU now offers 52 undergraduate and 32 graduate programs. This year, the Lutgert College of Business introduces a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics while the College of Arts and Sciences adds a Master of Arts degree in Environmental Studies.
GREEN INITIATIVE: FGCU takes its sustainability efforts to a higher level with the activation of a 16-acre solar energy farm that will turn the sun's rays into electrical power for the campus. The 2-megawatt farm, expected to be finished by October, will significantly reduce the University's reliance on non-renewable energy sources, save money, shrink FGCU's carbon footprint and serve as a model for sustainable energy projects in the community and beyond.
NEW ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: Ken Kavanagh is now FGCU’s athletic director, coming to Southwest Florida from Peoria, Ill., where he held the same position at Bradley University. He assumes the post as the University's 14 teams enter their third year in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Sun Conference. This year will mark the first season that any FGCU teams will be eligible for post-season play. Both the women's volleyball and men’s baseball teams have the potential to compete in the post-season.
NEW RESIDENCE HALL: Biscayne Hall opens this fall, the second of the South Village residence halls and the University's first LEED-certified building. Like Everglades Hall, which opened last year, it is five stories tall, 124,000 square feet and will house 406 freshmen. Most units are two-bedroom single suites, with two furnished single bedrooms sharing a split-style bathroom. Students living in these halls may participate in the First-Year Resident Experience Program, offered by the Office of Housing and Residence Life to assist first-year students in building a solid foundation for success at FGCU. In all, 2,768 students are expected to live on campus this fall.
MORE PARKING: As the University population increases, so does the need for parking. A third parking garage is under construction and is scheduled to open in January. It will add 800 parking spaces, bringing the total available to students to 3,300.
COMING SOON: A 60,000-square-foot academic building now under construction will provide additional laboratory and classroom space for the College of Arts and Sciences. It is expected to open this winter. A 23,000-square-foot Music Education and Performance Building breaks ground this month, to provide state-of-the-art practice, instructional and performance space for the Bower School of Music. And the Student Union will be expanded to meet the needs of the growing student body with a tiered theater, larger ballroom and additional lounge areas.
MORE DETAILS: For more information, members of the news media should contact Audrea Anderson, associate vice president for Community Relations and Marketing at (239) 590-1083 or firstname.lastname@example.org.