Southwest Florida Roundup
A grow-slower plan at FGCU
FGCU becomes more selective.
It didn't take long for Florida Gulf Coast University to get big. After opening with 2,500 students in 1997, FGCU experienced a decade of double-digit annual enrollment increases.
By 2010, the student body had surpassed 10,000. In 2013, after the men's basketball team made a run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, FGCU saw an unprecedented surge in freshman applications.
Today, with nearly 15,000 students, FGCU ranks just behind the University of North Florida and ahead of the much older University of West Florida in total enrollment.
A year ago, however, FGCU's board of trustees decided to limit annual enrollment growth to about 2.3%, translating to 2,300 fewer students than previously projected by 2019.
President Wilson Bradshaw, who took the helm in 2007, says FGCU has become more selective and raised its admission standards to better compete for performance-based state funding. Florida gives extra money to public universities based on their graduation and retention rates and job placement and salary statistics, among other metrics.
FGCU generally gets good marks for the employment prospects of its grads, but its six-year graduate rate of 49% leaves room for improvement.
Bradshaw says FGCU aims to boost student outcomes by providing better academic advising and career counseling, as well as attracting top-caliber students. FGCU's fall 2015 freshman class had an average GPA of 3.78, up from 3.37 in 2012. The geographic mix of the student population also is more varied, he says.
"We're increasingly the university of choice by many students. As recently as fall 2013, about half of our students were from southwest Florida. This fall, that number was 45%," he says.
Meanwhile, FGCU has begun a $100-million fundraising campaign. As a young school, FGCU lacks a large and mature alumni donor base, but wealthy local residents have pitched in with support. "In large part, that's contributed to our ability to grow as rapidly as we have," Bradshaw says.
John F. Germany
Founding Partner Holland & Knight
John F. Germany, a Tampa attorney, judge and civic leader, died in August at age 92. A Plant City native and Harvard Law School graduate, he was a founding partner of the Holland & Knight law firm. As an aide to then-Gov. LeRoy Collins, Germany worked to create legislation that established the University of South Florida in 1956. He also helped build and fund a public library that bears his name in downtown Tampa. USF President Judy Genshaft says he will be remembered "as one of Tampa's most influential visionaries. We are forever grateful." Shortly after his death, USF named a park in his honor.
Mike Jung, formerly president and publisher of the Idaho Statesman, joined News- Press Media Group in Fort Myers as president and publisher.
Orlando-based Seaside National Bank & Trust picked H. Wayne Griest to lead its growth in the Naples-Fort Myers area as market president.
Trust and estate attorney Ric Gregoria succeeded William Seider as president of the Williams Parker law firm in Sarasota.
BRADENTON - Bealls opened its first Bunulu store near Fort Myers, selling activewear. The Bradenton-based retailer plans additional locations in Jacksonville, Palm Beach and Tampa.
CLEARWATER - California-based Aimmune Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharma-ceutical company that's developing treatments for food allergies, signed a lease for 20,000 square feet of space. Virginia-based defense contractor Orbital ATK will close a manufacturing facility and relocate its local operations to the Los Angeles area.
ESTERO - Lee Memorial Health System will open a storefront location at Coconut Point Mall to help patients find doctors and learn about topics such as disease management.
FORT MYERS - Logistics company Allyn International moved its headquarters to a newly renovated office building, where it plans to add 50 jobs.
LAKELAND - SunEdison built a 6-megawatt solar power plant for Lakeland Electric. The plant is designed to generate enough electricity to power more than 1,300 homes. > Lakeland Regional Health formed an affiliation with Nemours Children's Hospital to expand local access to pediatric specialists.
PALM HARBOR - The HCAowned Medical Center of Trinity will open a freestanding emergency department off U.S. 19, HCA's fourth satellite emergency room in the Tampa Bay area.
SARASOTA - Digital health care company Voalte raised $17 million from Ascension Ventures, Cerner Capital and Bedford Funding. Sarasota-based Voalte has received nearly $60 million in private investment in the past three years. > City commissioners voted against regulating ride-sharing services such as Uber and to deregulate traditional taxicabs.
ST. PETERSBURG - Mayor Rick Kriseman traveled to Cuba to meet with academic, economic development and government officials. Kriseman hopes to persuade Cuba to open a consular office in St. Petersburg. > The city is creating an economic development corporation to attract jobs in target industries such as marine science and health care. > Under a new strategic alliance, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg became the primary affiliate of USF Health in south Pinellas County.
TAMPA - Johnson & Johnson will open a 111,000-sq.-ft. office in Tampa to handle corporate functions, including finance, human resources and information technology. State and local officials approved an incentives package worth $6.4 million for the company, which plans to create 500 jobs in the next three years. > University of South Florida alumnus Barron Collier III and his wife, Dana, gave $10.9 million to USF's Muma College of Business. > Providence Equity of Rhode Island sold the parent company of Tampa-based Ironman to a Chinese firm for $900 million. > Boston-based High Street Realty bought Tampa Distribution Center, a 955,000-sq.-ft. industrial campus near I-4; the price was not disclosed. > Port Tampa Bay will build a 130,000-sq.-ft. refrigerated warehouse to handle perishable goods. > Prudential Insurance's real estate unit paid $111 million for five buildings in Tampa's Highland Oaks office park. > Tampa International Airport, with a $953-million makeover under way, has begun planning an additional $1.3 billion in renovations, including a new terminal for international airlines and a new air-traffic control tower.