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Cynthia Bennett

Cynthia Bennett

I’m proud to be among those who support FGCU to help a college education be a bit more affordable. FGCU opened doors for me.

Photo of Cynthia BennettCynthia Bennett is one of the lucky ones.

Her story begins at NHC Healthcare System, where, in 1981, she began as a clerk in the payroll department. College wasn’t even remotely on her radar. The financial wherewithal simply wasn’t there.

Her boss at the time saw a spark in the young associate, untapped potential if you will. He arranged for Bennett to attend college as part of NCH’s 100 percent tuition reimbursement program. Loosely translated – she was able to earn her college degree compliments of NCH. NCH’s investment paid off – Bennett has devoted more than three decades to the organization and is now coordinator for constituent relations in the NCH Center for Philanthropy.

“My degree from FGCU opened doors for me that otherwise would have been shut,” said Bennett. While attending classes at night, first at the University of South Florida and later at FGCU, she worked full time at NCH, graduating in 1999 from FGCU with a bachelor’s degree in finance.

She also graduated with the knowledge that there are lots of other students just like her whose path to higher education was barred by lack of funding – which is why she endowed the Cynthia A. Bennett Scholarship, which focuses primarily on helping students who are the first among their siblings to attend college.

“I wasn’t able to go to college because my parents simply couldn’t afford it,” said Bennett. “I’m proud to be among those who support FGCU to help make a college education be a bit more affordable. FGCU opened doors for me, offered me a wonderful education that allowed me to advance in my profession and benefit my employer at the same time.”

Which brings us full circle – Bennett was one of the lucky ones. Her boss saw potential; her employer had a tuition reimbursement program in place.

Bennett, however, hasn’t forgotten her good fortune. “I believe everyone who wants to go to college should have that opportunity. This endowed scholarship is a way for me to give back to FGCU and make a meaningful investment in the future of young women and men."