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FGCU Foundation

FGCU Foundation

Eminent Scholars and Professorships


Eminent Scholars and Professorships attract and retain the finest faculty by providing the funding to pursue independent research and other scholarly activities.

A minimum gift of $1.02M is required to endow an Eminent Scholar Chair. Eminent Scholars are the internationally renowned authorities in their chosen fields. Their leadership, knowledge and cutting-edge research enhance the education received by FGCU students and bring prominence to Florida Gulf Coast University.

A minimum gift of $150,000 is required to endow a Professorship. Persons named to FGCU Professorships must have demonstrated excellence in research and scholarly activities, published widely, and shown a commitment to using their own achievements to give to their students the most stimulating and up-to-date education available in their fields.

It is a great honor for a professor to hold the position of a named Eminent Scholar Chair or a Professorship. Earnings from these endowed funds are used to supplement the professors' salaries and may be used for laboratory equipment, travel, and library materials to support their research.

Endowed Eminent Scholar Chairs and Professorships honor the person or group for whom the chair or professorship is named.

Endowed Eminent Scholars

Alico Corporation Chair in Financial Management & Planning
In Honor of Ben Hill Griffin, III.

Alico Corporation established a second chaired professorship in the College of Business in Finance. The focus of this chair is on the management of financial resources.

Alico Corporation Chair in Market Development & Analysis
In Honor of Dr. W. Bernard Lester

Alico Corporation established a third chaired professorship in the Lutgert College of Business in Market Development and Analysis, with a focus on evaluating and pursuing market opportunities.

Alico Corporation Chair in Operations Management & Strategy
In Honor of Ben Hill Griffin, Jr.

Alico Corporation established a chaired professorship in the College of Business in Operations Management and Strategy. This position focuses on strengthening the management of operations and strategic positioning of agri-business and other organizations in new value-added to technology driven dimensions of the industry.

Backe Chair in Renewable Energy

John D. Backe, President of the Backe Foundation Inc. established this chaired position for an eminent scholars to teach renewable energy at the undergraduate and graduate levels; conduct research on this emerging field and disseminate his or her research as widely as possible; conduct outreach activities including seminars and symposia for the community about the benefits of renewable energy; and support the efforts of the local Economic Development Councils (EDCs) to attract industry partners in renewable energy.

Bernese B. and Sidney R. Davis Chair for Environmental Design and/or Management

This chair focuses on leadership, knowledge and cutting-edge research that will enhance the education received by FGCU students and bring prominence to the University.

Eminent Scholar, Moorings Park Chair in Managerial Accounting
In Honor of Alan Korest

This chaired position in accounting will take a leadership role in: developing accounting research and service initiatives, developing interdisciplinary academic programs, and enhancing the college's reputation for research and external service with an emphasis in accounting system issues related to health and long-term care organizations.

Juliet C. Sproul Chair for Southwest Florida Habitat Restoration and Management Endowed Fund

This eminent scholar will have expertise in the field of tropical systems and ecology, including exotic vegetation, habitat restoration and native systems. In this honored position, the professor will enhance the education of students majoring in Environmental Studies or Environmental Science at the University, positively impact the environment in Southwest Florida, enhance the reputation of the University’s partner, Naples Botanical Garden, and bring prestige to the University and its Harvey Kapnick Education and Research Center at the Naples Botanical Garden.

Uncommon Friends Chair of Ethics

The Uncommon Friends Foundation and friends established this chair to develop and lead the implementation of a program which will focus on the issues involved in dealing with the moral dilemmas which business and other professionals increasingly face in making decisions today. The substance of the program is based in part on the personal values and ethical standards which Jim and Ellie Newton and their five Uncommon Friends who frequented Southwest Florida demonstrated in their business and professional lives.

Southwest Florida Endowed Chair of Nursing

Involved individuals from Southwest Florida came together to establish the Southwest Florida Endowed Chair of Nursing at the University of South Florida at Fort Myers. The fund was transferred to FGCU and continues to be used for its original intent - to serve the needs of health-care students and professionals.

Whitaker Eminent Scholar Chair in Science

The Whitaker Foundation established a chaired professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences to direct and provide leadership for the planning, development and implementation of the Science, Math and Technology Education building made possible by The Whitaker Foundation.

Myra N. Williams, Ph.D., Eminent Scholar in Science  


Endowed Professorships

BB&T Distinguished Professorship in Free Enterprise at Florida Gulf Coast University

The Elizabeth A. and Jack A. Conner Professorship of Nursing

This professorship expands instructional opportunities and bridge cultures, with a goal of ultimately heightening awareness and broadening appreciation for different cultures.

The Dr. Edith Potter Deats Professorship in Nursing

Dr. Edith Potter Deats, a physician and scholar, established this professorship to support the teaching, scholarship and activities of an outstanding scholar/teacher in nursing.

The Marguerite and Guy Howard Fund for Excellence

Marguerite Howard established this legacy professorship with the first annual installment in 2003 from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. This professorship has been directed to the College of Business.

The W. Thomas Howard Endowed Professorship in Business

Supported by the family and friends of the late W. Thomas Howard, a business and civic leader who is credited with being a major force in bringing FGCU to Fort Myers, special lecture series and programs related to business and industry are among the activities provided by this professorship.

Myra & Van Williams Distinguished Professorship in Music

For more information, please call Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation at (239) 590-1067.