The theme, “The Future: Bold and Brilliant,” could not have been more appropriate for this year’s President’s Celebration gala, held Feb. 1 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.
With more than 400 supporters in attendance, the university’s signature event celebrated more than million in contributions for scholarships and academic excellence during a festive evening in a ballroom filled with vibrant hues, lively music and bountiful giving.
The outpouring of generosity included a million pledge by David and Linda Lucas that will establish The Lucas Center for Faculty Development at Florida Gulf Coast University.
FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw thanked the guests for their attendance and support, saying, “Together, we can make FGCU an even more valuable institution for our students and the community as a whole. As you enjoy this festive affair, please remember that this gala has a higher purpose – to enable FGCU to expand programs that will ensure student success, advance research and programs that benefit society and enrich our region’s cultural resources.”
A highlight of the evening was a surprise performance by a flash mob made up of members of the FGCU Cheerleading Squad and the Dancing E’Gals, who thanked the evening’s sponsors with an energetic musical number. Scott Robertson of Scott Robertson Fundraising Auctioneers conducted the live auction.
As FGCU Foundation Board President Charles Winton said, funds raised at the President’s Celebration provide vital funding and resources, giving students a “ticket to the game” to which they might otherwise not have access. Winton and his business partner, Pat Denson, own Estero Bay Chevrolet, which served as the event’s grand sponsor.