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Alumni Couple Establish Scholarship for High Achievers

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Braxton and Jill Rhone are big believers in a college education. As proud and successful FGCU alumni, they also are keenly aware of the importance of supporting their alma mater.

     The couple recently created the Rhone Family Foundation Scholarship Endowed Fund, which will provide scholarships to juniors or seniors with GPAs of at least 3.75 and who demonstrate leadership in school activities.

     “We thought it was only right to do something for the university that’s done so much for us,” said Braxton Rhone (’06, Business Management).

     He enjoys a career as a financial advisor, currently working for Fidelity Investments. Although he struggled academically in high school, Rhone gained admission to FGCU, promising to work hard. He fulfilled that pledge, earning a 3.46 GPA and becoming Student Government treasurer and vice president. He currently serves on the Florida SouthWestern State College Board of Trustees.

     Jill Rhone earned a bachelor’s in 2007 and a master’s in 2008, both in social work. She recently was named director of admissions at Bishop Verot Catholic High School.

     “We believe in giving back to the community,” she said. “We are hoping more alumni will see this and feel motivated to give back to the university as well in some way, whether it’s through a donation or by volunteering or sharing their experiences with students.”

     Lindsey Touchette (’05, Communication), FGCU director of major gifts, said remaining engaged with the university after graduation benefits both alumni and future students.

     “The Rhones have exemplified this through both personal and financial involvement,” she said. “Their generosity will leave a lasting legacy that will enable future Eagles to excel as students and go on to fulfilling careers just as the Rhones did.”  

     To contribute to the fund, or for more information, contact Lindsey Touchette, director of major gifts, at (239) 590-1016 or


Financial Group Creates Scholarship Program to Inspire Business Students 

FORT MYERS, Fla.  – “Kaizen,” a Japanese word meaning “continuous personal growth,” is one of the values upheld by those who work at Northwestern Mutual – The John Delaney – Naples/Estero Group. In an effort to help students continue to improve, the Estero-based financial services firm recently pledged $10,000 in support of scholarships and the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU).         
     “We wanted to make an impact in our community and on the university,” said Delaney. “We hope our support of the Lutgert College of Business will help to convey the values we uphold at the Northwestern Mutual – The John Delaney – Naples/Estero Group of stewardship, integrity, personal responsibility and kaizen.”
     The scholarship will be awarded in monthly increments of $1,000 to full-time, degree-seeking business majors who have demonstrated academic merit, leadership in school activities and an entrepreneurial spirit. Each of nine monthly recipients will be named Northwestern Mutual – The John Delaney – Naples/Estero Group Student of the Month.
     “With an entrepreneurial spirit in mind, we hope that providing students with support (like many fledgling businesses receive), it will create a spirit within them to one day pay it forward once they are successful,” Delaney said.
     The final $1,000 will go toward membership in The President’s Society, FGCU’s premier giving association, which funds initiatives that support student enrichment, new programs and other unanticipated expenses.
     Delaney advises students to “do what you love and the money will follow. Envision what you see yourself doing and explore all the options that your major may have to offer.”
     Originally from Pennsylvania, Delaney grew up in Deltona, earned a marketing degree from Florida State University in 1992 then moved to Lee County. He currently resides in Estero with Karen, his wife of 18 years.  Northwestern Mutual – The John Delaney – Naples/Estero Group is a life insurance and financial advising firm that specializes in helping clients achieve financial security.
     For more information, contact Lindsey Touchette, director of Major Gifts, at (239) 590-1016 or