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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


Punta Gorda Native Bequeaths $128,000 to FGCU; New Endowment Provides Scholarships for Charlotte County Students

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University announces Punta Gorda native Mabel R. Keys has made a donation to create the Mabel and Arnold Keys Memorial Scholarship Endowed Fund to benefit FGCU students from Charlotte County.

The State of Florida Matching Gift Program will match the scholarship portion of the $128,000 bequeathed gift with another $50,000. The total endowment fund will support scholarships in perpetuity.

"Florida Gulf Coast University is grateful to Mrs. Keys for her unselfish gift to benefit aspiring students from Charlotte County," Steve Magiera, vice president for Advancement and FGCU Foundation executive director, said.

Keys was born May 23, 1912, to Leslie L. and Ruth Lewis. She graduated in 1930 from Charlotte High School and attended the Halton Business College in Tampa.

Keys worked for the Inter-County Telephone and Telegraph Company and at the Punta Gorda Army Airbase with the Signal Corps.

A member and organizer of the Belles and Beaux Band of the Grand Lodge of the Rebekah Assembly of Florida, Keys was a talented pianist and loved music.

In addition, Keys was a 60-year member of the American Legion Auxiliary Post 103, and a member of the Ladies Auxiliary Patriot Militant Tarpon No. 9 of Fort Myers, Pink Ladies Volunteers at Charlotte Regional Medical Center and First Baptist Church of Punta Gorda.

Keys was married to Arnold "Slim" Keys. She died Oct. 11, 2003.

"Ms. Keys was a great lady and a very caring person. She wanted everyone to have an education," lifetime friend Jane Watson said.

Personal representative Donald Ashley said Keys was ahead of her time, "For a woman to go to (male dominated) business school was quite a feat! She was always passionate about students from Charlotte County."

For more information, media representatives should contact director of Planned Giving Peter Lefferts at (239) 590-1077 or

A high-resolution photograph of Mabel Keys is available for download at

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