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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

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

Press Release


FGCU Receives Endowment for Landscape Design, Horticulture Education Chair

FORT MYERS, FL - Bernese B. Davis, native Floridian and Fort Myers resident since 1928, has established the Bernese B. and Sidney R. Davis Chair for Environmental Design and Management at Florida Gulf Coast University. The purpose of the endowed Chair is to attract and retain an internationally renowned authority in the field of landscape design, horticulture education and research.

"I am happy to be able to do this for the community that I love and call home. I know Sidney would have been too," donor Bernese B. Davis said. "This Chair has been established as a vehicle to further Sidney's interest in education and research, and my interest in landscape design and horticulture. The endowment will combine these interests under the chair's leadership."

The State of Florida Major Gifts Trust Fund will match the $620,159 gift with another $434,411. The total endowment fund of $1,054,270 will support research and other related scholarly activities in perpetuity.

FGCU is developing a master's program in Environmental Studies with a track in landscape design.

"We are excited to add this component to the curriculum because it will enhance the College's support of FGCU's mission to practice and promote environmental sustainability," said Donna Henry, dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.

"Graduates of the program will understand the issues of Southwest Florida plants and soils and thereby ensure that we develop landscapes that are not only beautiful, but that will flourish in the semitropical climate and tolerate the local weather systems," said Henry.

The person named to the endowed Chair must have demonstrated excellence in landscape design, horticulture education, research, management and a commitment to using his achievements to give students the most stimulating and current education available in the field.

Davis' passion for gardening is evident in her home landscape where she enjoys using her talent for horticulture. Beyond her own garden, Davis is a landscape critic who judges gardens. Serving on state, regional and national boards, she travels widely to garden council meetings and all over the world in the interest of promoting landscape design schools.

For more information, media representatives should contact senior administrative assistant of Advancement Carol Deluccia at (239) 590-1067.

A photograph of Bernese Davis is available for download at

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