Florida Gulf Coast University is a public body corporate established by Florida Law with all of the powers of a corporation, including the power to adopt a corporate seal, to contract and be contracted with, to sue and be sued, to plead and be impleaded in all courts of law or equity, and to give and receive donations. The formal legal name of the University is "The Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees, a public body corporate." This name should be used on all legal documents.
The Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees is the governing body of the University and consists of thirteen members appointed as follows: six members appointed by the Governor subject to confirmation by the Senate; five members appointed by the Board of Governors subject to confirmation by the Senate; the chair of the FGCU Faculty Senate; and the president of the FGCU Student Government.
The president is the chief executive officer and corporate secretary of the board. Corporate officers are the chair, vice-chair and president/corporate secretary.
As a public instrumentality of the State of Florida performing an essential public function, the University enjoys sovereign immunity except to the extent expressly waived in law by the Florida Legislature.
Generally speaking, the university's colleges, schools, centers, institutes, departments, offices, committees and the like are not separate entities from the University and should not be described as such on any legal document. However, student organizations and clubs are independent of the University.
Direct Support Organizations
The Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, Inc., and the Florida Gulf Coast University Financing Corporation are direct support organizations (DSOs) of the University. The DSOs are formed as not for profit corporations under the Florida Not for Profit Corporation Act, Chapter 617, Florida Statutes. The Internal Revenue Service has recognized the DSOs as tax-exempt charitable organizations under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Gifts made through the Foundation or the Financing Corporation are generally deductible for federal income, gift and estate tax purposes.
While a DSO is a legal entity separate from a state university, Florida Law authorizes a state university board of trustees to certify such an organization to operate for the benefit of a university. This certification empowers a DSO to receive, hold, invest, and administer property and to make expenditures to or for the benefit of its university or for the benefit of a research and development park or research and development authority affiliated with the university. Florida Law requires that a DSO operate in a manner consistent with the goals of its university and in the best interests of the State of Florida, as determined by the university president and board of trustees.