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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's 31st Commencement Graduates over 400 Students Aug. 4 at Alico Arena

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) expects to graduate over 400 students during its first summer commencement exercises 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4 at Alico Arena. Doors open for guests at noon. Members of the media will gain entry by presenting proper credentials at a designated table marked MEDIA REGISTRATION at the Alico Arena entryway.

FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw confers bachelor's and master's degrees in the University's five academic colleges: College of Arts and Sciences, Lutgert College of Business, College of Education, Health Professions and Social Work, and U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering. FGCU has conferred more than 16,000 degrees since fall 1997. The commencement ceremony lasts approximately two and one half hours.

This year, Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto will give the commencement address. First elected to the Florida Senate in 2010, she currently represents Southwest Florida in the 30th district. She was named the Majority Leader for the Republican caucus in the Florida Senate in fall of 2012, after serving as the Deputy Majority Leader during the previous session.

Additionally, the senator was appointed to be the Vice Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, and sits on a number of other significant committees in the Florida Senate including Education, Banking and Insurance, Rules, and Ethics and Elections.

Since her election to the Legislature, Senator Benacquisto has maintained her focus on good public policy, sponsoring legislation like the Andrew Widman Act to protect law enforcement officers and keep our streets safe, the Silver Alert Program to protect our seniors, and the Qualified Targeted Industries bill to help incentivize global trade and logistical businesses in the state. In the 2013 session she championed the "Cancer Treatment Fairness Act" to help cancer patients across the state receive access to life saving oral medications.

Sen. Benacquisto has been a Florida resident for more than 35 years. She graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University with a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management. Her hard work during her first session did not go unnoticed, with many local organizations recognizing her accomplishments. Recent honors include being named Boys and Girls Club of Lee County Children's Advocate of the Year, PACE Center for Girls' Senator of the Year, Southwest Florida Library Champion, as well as being awarded an "A" rating from business groups such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida, and Associated Builders and Contractors.

The commencement ceremony will be viewable via webcast at beginning at noon.

Alico Arena currently has a policy prohibiting balloons and any loud noise makers in the arena and will not allow them to be brought into the arena for the commencement ceremony.

For more information, contact Lillian Pagan, director of Media Relations at

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