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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 13th Commencement Exercises Dec. 19; Congressman Diaz-Balart to Give Address

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University expects to graduate 557 students during fall commencement exercises 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19 at Alico Arena.

U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart of the 25th District of Florida delivers the commencement address to graduates and over 4,000 family members and guests. President William C. Merwin confers degrees. In addition, chancellor of the State University System Debra Austin is expected to attend.

Díaz-Balart was elected to serve in Congress in 2002. His district includes eastern Collier County, western Miami-Dade County and part of Monroe County. He serves on the Budget Committee, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Díaz-Balart was born Fort Lauderdale in 1961. After studying political science at the University of South Florida in Tampa, he began his public service career as an aide to the major of Miami. He served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1988 to 1992.

In 1992, Díaz-Balart became the youngest person elected to the Florida Senate. He later served as chair of the Combined Appropriations/Budget/Ways and Means/Finance and Tax Committee.

According to his Congressional Web site, "Díaz-Balart was consistently ranked among the most effective legislators in the Florida Legislature. He developed a reputation as a budget hawk and earned the moniker 'The Slasher,' for his successful efforts in reducing waste, fraud and abuse. In 1996 he was voted 'Most Effective Legislator' by the Miami Herald."

In 2000, Díaz-Balart was elected to the Florida House without opposition. He served as chair of the Congressional Redistricting Committee and vice chair of the Procedural and Redistricting Council.

The ceremony will be FGCU's 13th commencement and includes students completing degree requirements during summer and fall terms. FGCU has conferred over 4,000 degrees since fall 1997. The ceremony will last approximately two hours. A reception for graduates and their guests follows the ceremony. Doors open at noon for seating.

For more information, call associate vice president for Community Relations Audrea Anderson at (239) 590-1083.

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