The Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance
Uniquely positioned to deliver academic programs of the highest possible quality.
The support of the business community for our efforts, highlighted by the generous gift from David and Linda Lucas, is unwavering. The programs that we are developing blend outstanding academic instruction with insights that can only be obtained from industry executives who have extensive experience in the complex process of real estate development. The result will be nationally recognized programs that prepare our graduates for the wide range of challenges they will face in this increasingly competitive industry.
The FGCU Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance was established in the summer of 2003. Two primary factors motivated the establishment of the institute. The first factor was the important role that real estate development plays in the economy of Southwest Florida. The second motivating factor was the need expressed by participants in the development industry for a top quality graduate degree program that would prepare students for the challenges they will face as they advance in their careers in this highly competitive industry.
In the fall of 2003, an advisory committee composed of industry leaders from real estate development and related fields was formed to guide the development of the institute and the programs it will offer. Preliminary discussions with the advisory committee resulted in several significant conclusions. First, the establishment of a graduate degree program would add tremendous value to Southwest Florida. Second, because of the unique nature of the real estate development industry in Southwest Florida and the willingness of the leaders of various local firms to lend their expertise to our academic programs, we have an opportunity to build a program of nationally recognized quality. Finally, while the establishment of such programs requires tremendous investment of time and money, the returns to future students, their potential employers, and the region fully justify this investment.
The institute has a total permanent endowment of $4,000,000. In December 2003, David and Linda Lucas donated $2,000,000 to endow the institute. These funds are matched by the State of Florida. In recognition of the extremely generous gift the institute was renamed the Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance. In the spring of 2004, plans were developed to establish a graduate program in real estate development using the executive MBA format. The real estate specific portions of the curriculum are currently being developed with the assistance of the advisory council and the College of Business Graduate Programs Committee. It is anticipated that the first class of Real Estate Development EMBA's will begin coursework in the fall of 2005.
The generosity of David and Linda Lucas is inspired by a lifelong commitment to help others wherever possible. They have touched the lives of thousands of people throughout Southwest Florida through their extraordinarily generous contributions of time, money and leadership. Their belief that it is everyone's responsibility to help make Southwest Florida a better place in which to live and work has motivated a contagious spirit of giving among The Bonita Bay Group staff and the residential communities that the company develops.
David and Linda have made Fort Myers their home for twenty years and have raised three children here. David serves as Chairman of the Board of The Bonita Bay Group and Linda is a homemaker involved with numerous volunteer activities.
The Lucas' philanthropic work is often quiet, information about their personal giving is not often shared and in many circumstances the people affected by their generous contributions of time and money are unaware of their assistance. In addition to their contributions to Florida Gulf Coast University, other contributions that are on the record include United Way, Bonita Springs Community Foundation, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Canterbury School and Lee County Public Schools. David and Linda Lucas consistently exhibit an uncompromising commitment to their core values of integrity, ethics and making a difference in the life of others. They are extraordinary role models for our community.