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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


Outstanding Graduates Honored with FGCU Alumni of Distinction Society and Soaring Eagles Society Awards

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University Alumni Association Board of Directors welcomed one distinguished graduate into the Alumni of Distinction Society, and four graduates into the newly-created Soaring Eagles Society at the annual Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony in April.

The Alumni of Distinction Society is the highest honor the association bestows on a deserving graduate. This year, the FGCU Alumni of Distinction Society award was presented to Ricky Pires, Environmental Studies graduate from the class of 2000.

She is founder and director of Wings of Hope Foundation, which she developed as a student at FGCU; and has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Florida Wildlife Federation's Conservation Educator of the Year in 2006.

Her award-winning Florida Panther Posse programs teach students about the endangered panther and what they can do to help study and protect them. Her hope is that through this message our youth will make decisions that protect, save, restore and respect the natural world.

The Alumni Association also welcomed four graduates into the Soaring Eagles Society to honor alumni who have earned an undergraduate degree from FGCU within the last decade. The recipients are:

Scott Guelcher - 2005 graduate in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is currently the Education Director for the Lee County Alliance for the Arts and served as the artist chair for Art Royale 2008. He continues to participate in numerous exhibitions, and received the Angels of the Arts Award for best new artist.

Lt. Spencer Roach - 2005 graduate in the College of Professional Studies. A decorated Lieutenant with the Coast Guard, he has distinguished himself in his military career, earning recognition for his involvement with grassroots civic and nonprofit organizations. Most recently, he was selected as one of six officers nationwide for the Judge Advocate General program.

Jonel Gomez - 2002 and 2008 graduate in the College of Health Professions, School of Nursing. She leads by example encouraging her children to create and deliver cards, artwork and homemade trinkets to patients in the assisted living facility where she worked. She is currently employed as a nurse practitioner with a local surgeon.

Magali Solimano - 2003 graduate in the Lutgert College of Business. After graduation, she served in Ecuador with the U.S. Peace Corps where she was successful in developing a school lunch program, and obtaining funding for a community library and training center. She is currently an international expert analyst on Latin American economics and commerce, and is employed as a Regional Editor for the Economist Group.

For more information, media representatives should contact director of Alumni Relations Lindsey Touchette at (239) 590-1016.

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