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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


New Learning Initiative Brings Author, Students, Parents to FGCU for First Freshman Convocation

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University is welcoming freshmen this fall with the First Year Experience, a new initiative to assist students transitioning from high school to the university community where they will encounter new social experiences and intellectual expectations that are more rigorous.

FGCU gave freshmen a copy of James McBride's The Color of Water ( ) during Eagle View Orientation as a summer reading project, along with two assignments. FGCU selected the autobiography for its themes of education, religion and cultural diversity. The book provides the foundation for two courses that all freshmen will take in the fall semester.

During FGCU's first Freshman Convocation Sunday, Sept. 14 in Alico Arena, 900 freshmen, their parents and faculty will be treated to a lecture by the author and a performance by his jazz band. The next day, FGCU will provide students an open question and answer forum with McBride.

"We want our students to engage in a thoughtful and conscious learning process as they progress through their studies at the University, and McBride's work will help us understand the importance of education and learning," associate professor and chair of the Division of Humanities and Arts Jim Wohlpart said.

"In addition, The Color of Water will provide us with a foundation for considering diverse religions and cultures, allowing us to engage in discussions about our differences and the things that link all of us."

Students are expected to read the text and complete the assignments by the first day of classes, Aug. 25. The assignments are available at the First Year Experience web site: .

Wachovia is sponsoring the initiative with a $15,000 donation, in addition to funding from the FGCU Student Government Association. Town and Gown is funding a pre-Convocation reception for the author and Comcast is covering a post-event reception.

For more information, contact Wohlpart at (239) 590-7181.

Freshman Convocation
Sunday, Sept. 14, Alico Arena
3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Convocation with James McBride as featured speaker
4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Jazz Band and Student Reception (Q & A)
5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Book Signing

Informal Reading, Question and Answer, and Book Signing
Monday, Sept. 15, Student Union Ballroom
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

- FGCU -

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