My wife and I both had a liberal-arts education. We want to make sure students who want that foundation in the humanities have access to those programs.
Heroes for the humanities
Seidler family investment in College of Arts & Sciences benefits students, faculty, community
The name on Seidler Hall may be the most visible evidence of their relationship with FGCU, but the Seidler family’s legacy reaches beyond one building, across campus and across disciplines, and will benefit students across generations.
By the time their name was unveiled on the former Academic Building 7 in January 2016, the philanthropic seeds planted by the Seidlers were well on their way to bearing fruit. Students majoring in humanities and social sciences already were benefiting from a then-new mentoring program, PAGES, that strengthens their preparation for successful careers. Others were being given opportunities to travel and expand their cultural and professional experiences.
By establishing The Seidler Fund at FGCU, Lee and Gene Seidler of Sanibel, and Lee’s daughter Laurie, have continued to enhance opportunities in the College of Arts & Sciences for undergraduate scholarship, humanities initiatives and arts programming. Each summer, a dozen or more students now are able to collaborate with faculty on research or creative projects through Seidler Summer Undergraduate Scholarship Fellowships. An annual lecture series and an international film festival, as well as numerous art exhibitions each year, are made possible by The Seidler Fund and engage community members from throughout Southwest Florida as well as from campus.
Longtime supporters of First Generation scholarships and arts programming at FGCU, the Seidlers wanted to help ensure that the university continues to strengthen programs in its largest college with their gift. “It’s a matter of trying to preserve the arts and sciences,” Lee Seidler says. “My wife and I both had a liberal-arts education. We want to make sure students who want that foundation in the humanities have access to those programs.”
The Seidlers’ generosity has enabled the college to invest in a wide range of programs and opportunities, says Robert Gregerson, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
“This gift will touch the lives of countless students in the years ahead. We are extremely grateful to the Seidlers for their thoughtful and generous support.”
The Seidlers became involved with the university through the college’s Bower School of Music & the Arts, and have bequeathed to FGCU a work by the late Robert Rauschenberg, an internationally renowned artist and longtime Southwest Florida resident.
Lee Seidler also is a longtime member of the FGCU Foundation Board. He is a noted authority on accounting, having had an acclaimed career as senior managing director for Bear, Stearns & Co. and serving as the Price Waterhouse Professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University. He has written six books on accounting and taxation and is a much-sought-after expert witness in accounting and auditing cases. Dr. Seidler has long served on the board of directors for The Shubert Foundation in New York City, a leading supporter of live performing arts. He is also the founder and chairman emeritus of the Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York. Gene Seidler enjoyed a distinguished career as an educator, including 14 years in the local Lee County School System.