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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 Honors Margaret S. Sugden with Groundbreaking Ceremony for Herbert J. Sugden Hall, the Resort and Hospitality Management's Academic Building

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University honored Margaret S. Sugden today with a groundbreaking ceremony for Herbert J. Sugden Hall, the new academic building that will house the Resort and Hospitality Management program. During the ceremony, the Sugden family honored the matriarch with a painting of Mr. and Mrs. Sugden to be displayed at Herbert J. Sugden Hall, painted by grandson, well-known artist Roman Gomez.

In January 2001, Herbert J. and Margaret "Peg" S. Sugden made a gift that built the Margaret S. Sugden Welcome Center. That initial gift also enabled FGCU to build the Sugden Clock Tower, a familiar landmark that leads to the Student Union. A year and a half later, the Sugdens made another significant gift that enabled FGCU to establish the Resort and Hospitality Management degree program and, with matching funds from the State of Florida, to house this academic program. The Sugdens' decision to fund these facilities speaks to their commitment to education and great understanding of gracious hospitality.

Herbert J. and Margaret S. Sugden have been generous benefactors for a number of important projects across the region and beyond. Locally, they sought to improve the quality of life for all who live and work in Southwest Florida, and contributed lead gifts to such organizations as Sugden Community Theatre, Friends of the Naples Library, and Collier County Parks and Recreation (Sugden Regional Park).

FGCU Interim President Richard Pegnetter said, "The Sugdens, mindful of Florida's tourist-based economy, learned that the area's hospitality industry had expressed the need for homegrown managers. Herb and Peg believed in the potential for this region's superiority in the hospitality industry and provided the funds necessary to establish a successful Resort and Hospitality Management degree program and to build the related academic facility - a true learning laboratory - Herbert J. Sugden Hall. We are here today to celebrate their benevolence."

The Resort and Hospitality Management program at FGCU offers the most comprehensive resort management program in the country. It is the University's fastest growing academic program with 370 majors and 64 graduates, all of whom have been welcomed by the industry.

"Herbert J. Sugden Hall will provide the FGCU Resort and Hospitality majors with state of the art kitchen, restaurant, spa and golf management lab and teaching facilities to complement their academic learning. The Sugdens' generous gifting of a new building to our Resort and Hospitality program ensures that the program's facilities are competitive with other hospitality programs across the country and provides a point of pride for students and alumni," director of Resort and Hospitality Management Sherie Brezina said.

The design concept for the 40,000 square foot building not only creates a teaching/training facility for students in the Resort and Hospitality program, but also embodies the hospitality industry by creating a facility similar to a hotel. Students will be taught using real world applications in addition to servicing the public. The two-story building will include ballrooms and multipurpose space; food and wine testing lab with attached wine cellar; spa facility equipped with a steam room, sauna, whirlpool, hair salon and treatment rooms. In addition, it will house a golf management program including a club repair shop, simulated full swing station and putting green; full-service commercial kitchen; Cyber café; faculty and staff offices; and panoramic views of a lake.

Construction begins this fall and will open to students in the fall of 2008. Architects are SchenkelShultz and builder is Owen-Ames-Kimball Co.

For more information, media representatives should contact senior director of Advancement Judie Cassidy at (239) 590-1058.

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