[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”31″ gal_title=”Graduation spring 2016″]
Beaming parents, decorated faculty and soon-to-be FGCU alumni filed into Alico Arena on Sunday, May 1 during the university’s 39th commencement ceremony.
FGCU’s five colleges — the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, the College of Health Professions and Social Work, the Lutgert College of Business and the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering — produced 1,637 degrees, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral. Two hundred and four graduate degrees were awarded; two students received a Doctor of Education, and 26 students were given a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
The first ceremony was for students who graduated from CAS and began at 9 a.m. Dean Robert Gregerson gave a memorable address, stressing the quality of education the now-graduates have received during their time at FGCU.
“This group of students graduating today has been without a doubt well-educated,” Gregerson said.
Gregerson then went on to compare how life was like while he was in college, examining the differences and similarities between the graduates that sat in front of him on stage and the ones he sat next to years ago.
Six hundred and eighty degrees were given during the first ceremony. The major with the largest number of graduates was communication followed by psychology.
“Your experiences while attending FGCU are unprecedented,” Provost Ron Toll said during the first ceremony.
The second ceremony was for students who graduated from the College of Health Professions and Social Work as well as the College of Education and began at 1 p.m. Dean Mitchell Cordova, who serves as the dean of the College of Health Professions and Social Work, delivered the address.
Elaine Marieb — an internationally known author who penned several science textbooks and whose name will forever be immortalized in Marieb Hall due to a $5 million donation to FGCU in 2012 — was awarded an honorary doctorate during the second ceremony.
The College of Health Professions and Social Work produced 321 graduates. The major with the largest number of graduates was nursing followed by community health. As for the College of Education, 172 degrees were given out. The major with the largest number of graduates was elementary education followed by school education.
The third and final ceremony of the 2016 spring commencement was for students graduating from LCOB and the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering. It began at 5 p.m. LCOB Dean Bob Beaty addressed the crowd after joyfully confessing that both him and Whitaker Dean Richard Behr were scheduled to speak, but Beaty ended up giving the speech because he won a game of “rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.”
“Graduation day is without a doubt my favorite day of the year,” Beaty said. “As I look at today’s audience, it is truly an amazing sight.”
The LCOB awarded 329 degrees. The major that had the most graduates was business management followed by marketing. As for the College of Engineering, 135 degrees were given with the most in software engineering followed by civil engineering.
Faculty Senate president and Board of Trustees member Shawn Felton gave a lighthearted introduction during each of the three ceremonies, touching on the importance of hard work and dedication not only in college but through life’s later years.
“Protect who you are,” Felton said. “Protect your integrity.”
Student body president Thieldens Elneus also spoke during the three ceremonies, giving the classic Dr. Suess inspired speech filled with timeless quotes from the writer’s famous “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
FGCU’s alumni account for over 23,000 former students.