Section 508 Website Accessibility

Certain documents on this site are available as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. PDF content requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader and can be downloaded by visiting

The University encourages anyone needing assistance in accessing content found on the University's website to contact the FGCU office or department that maintains the webpage. For an accessible version of PDF material, please contact FGCU Adaptive Services at or by calling 239 590-7956.

Skip to site navigation Skip to main content
Skip to main content
Hunter Institute

Hunter Institute

The Hunter Institute of Early Childhood Learning

Jill Sherman, M.Ed., Director
Hunter Institute of Early Childhood Learning 
College of Education

Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd. South
Fort Myers, FL  33965-6565

(239) 745 - 4341

History of the Institute




Willard and Judy Hunter of Bonita Springs, longtime benefactors of The College at Brockport, funded the institute’s creation through a charitable remainder trust and a charitable gift annuity and will continue to support its mission at FGCU.

 “We purposely funded this institute with a CRT and a CGA so we can be involved in its growth while guaranteeing its long-term future and success,” said Wil Hunter. He is the retired president and CEO of Optem, a Rochester-based custom optical instrument design and manufacturing company he co-founded in 1984 following a 19-year career with Bausch and Lomb Inc. He was a member of The Brockport Foundation Board for 17 years, serving as its chairman from 2001 to 2003.

Judy Hunter, a pre-school teacher for 20 years until her retirement in 1999, knows firsthand the issues that educators face and the value of engaging children in learning early in life.

“We hope the work of the institute will result in a better understanding of how young children learn and how to help them in the classroom,” she said. “Pre-school education is critically important to a child’s future. If we can teach young children to be comfortable in the classroom, they will gain significant self-esteem and will be able to accomplish virtually any goal they set for themselves academically, physically and socially.”