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Office of Vice President and
Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


FGCU Hosts Ninth Commencement Exercises Dec.15; U.S. Senator Bill Nelson to Give Address

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University is expecting to graduate 407 students during fall commencement exercises 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15 at TECO Arena.

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson will deliver the commencement address to graduates and over 2,000 family members and guests. President William C. Merwin will confer degrees.

This is FGCU’s ninth commencement and includes students completing degree requirements during the summer and fall terms. With December 2002 commencement, FGCU will have conferred over 2,550 degrees since opening its doors in fall 1997.

Nelson was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2000, after serving six years as a member of the Florida Cabinet. A week after being sworn in, he was tapped as vice chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Nelson is also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations, Armed Services, Budget and Commerce Committees.

Before his service in the Senate, Nelson served as Florida’s treasurer, insurance commissioner and state fire marshal from 1995 to 2000. Nelson oversaw state finances and insurance regulation and led the rebuilding of Florida’s insurance market in the wake of Hurricane Andrew.

Nelson was elected to the Florida Legislature in 1972, serving for six years. He went on to serve in Congress, where he represented central Florida and became chairman of the Space Subcommittee of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. As one of the leading congressional experts on NASA, Nelson underwent intensive training and flew as a crew member on the 24th flight of the space shuttle.

Nelson is a fifth-generation Floridian. He was born Sept. 29, 1942, in Miami and was educated in Melbourne’s public schools. He is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia Law School. Nelson served four years of reserve duty and two years of active duty in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of captain. He lives with his wife of 30 years, Grace. They are the parents of two children, Nan Ellen and Bill.

Guests should be seated by 1 p.m. The ceremony will last approximately two hours.

For more information, call (941) 590-1000.

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