Town & Gown boast a long and rich tradition of supporting Southwest Florida’s regional comprehensive university, Florida Gulf Coast University. Our mission is to provide service, to advance understanding, and to promote friendship between FGCU and the Community. Town & Gown supports student scholarship, food insecurity and other faculty projects. Members attend two signature meetings which feature faculty speakers and campus updates from FGCU administration. Town & Gown actively participates and attends University events such as concerts, art shows, athletics, lectures, and more.
Board Meeting: September 18, 2023 | University Advancement
Fall Luncheon: October 5, 2023 | Cohen Center
Board Meeting: January 25, 2024 | University Advancement
Leadership Luncheon: February 15, 2024 | Vines Country Club
Board Meeting: March 28, 2024 | University Advancement
Spring Luncheon: April 18, 2024 | The Water School
About Town & Gown at FGCUToggle More Info
Town & Gown enjoys a long and rich tradition of supporting Southwest Florida’s regional comprehensive university, Florida Gulf Coast University since its inception.
Town & Gown is primarily dedicated to student scholarships and food insecurity among the FGCU campus community. In addition, they support faculty projects focused on student enrichment. Members attend two signature meetings annually which feature faculty speakers and campus updates from FGCU administration. Town & Gown members actively participate and attend University events such as concerts, art shows, athletic events, lectures, and more. Members are from Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties.
Board of DirectorsToggle More Info
BOARD MEMBER POSITION – TERM OF SERVICE Mrs. Jeannie Martin President
Mrs. Crystal Fitzgerald Vice-President
2023 – 2025
Mrs. Lauren Whitman Secretary
Mrs. Georgianna McDaniel Treasurer
Mrs. Alexandra Bremner Director
Mrs. Pat Carroll Director
Dr. Judi Hughes Director
Mrs. Jennifer Keene Director
Mrs. Victoria Stephan Director
Mrs. Myra Walters Director
Mrs. Jeanne Dozier Immediate Past-President
Mrs. Mary Lee Mann Parliamentarian
Contributions to FGCUToggle More Info
- First Generation Scholarships
- Mary Francis Howard Endowment
- Athletic Scholarships
- FGCU Campus Food Pantry
- Little Eagles Learning Center
- Azul's Attire
In our support of student enhancement, Town & Gown supported these activities:
- Adopt an Eaglet
- Bower’s School of Music 2020 Italy Trip
- Sanibel Writer's Conference
History of Town & GownToggle More Info
In 1982, Mrs. William Thomas Howard (Mary Frances) decided that an organization of ladies with a keen interest in higher education would benefit Southwest Florida. Her husband, Mr. William Thomas Howard, had worked hard for many years with a group of prominent men to bring a branch campus of the University of South Florida to Fort Myers. After the ground breaking of the new campus, Mary Frances started dreaming of a support group of prominent ladies who would serve the Fort Myers campus of the University of South Florida and assist the dean of the campus in the social activities of the university.
After the dedication of the new campus, Mary Frances’ dreams turned to plans. On March 31, 1983, a luncheon was held at the Royal Palm Yacht Club to begin organizing. Invited were Dr. Linda Lopez McAlister, Dean of the Fort Myers campus, Mrs. Ann Ross, USF Director of University Relations, and local ladies, Mrs. Fred Edenfield (Paula), Mrs. Henry Morroni (Annette), and Mrs. Benjamin Martin (Suzi). Both Annette and Paula have received their master’s degrees from the Fort Myers campus of USF. Suzi was the first person to complete a Ph.D. on the Fort Myers campus of USF.
Mrs. Howard assembled this core group of loyal alumni to begin the process of defining the organization and selecting the membership. With modifications of Tampa’s Town and Gown and the addition of an auxiliary organization called Tassels, the group agreed to develop the concept of the organization.
At the second meeting, bylaws and membership requirements/selection were detailed, and at the third meeting, Town and Gown of the University of South Florida at Fort Myers became the official name of the organization. Mrs. Richard Shaughnessy and Mrs. C. Bertrem Pate participated in this process as the two first honorary members.
April 1983 marked the first graduation of USF/Fort Myers students from the new campus. As Town and Gown was in its organizational stages, its first project was the decoration of the stage, providing hostesses for graduation, securing music, and organizing a gala reception afterwards for families and friends of the graduates.
The first official meeting was held at Cypress Lake Country Club on February 22, 1984. President Suzi Martin, Vice President Annette Morroni, and Secretary/Treasurer Paula Edenfield served as hostesses for the occasion. Membership included 28 charter members, 5 honorary life members and Distinguished Founding Member, Mrs. William Thomas Howard.
In 1984, a second project, in addition to graduation festivities, was taken on by the ladies. The Major Donor’s Dinner became an annual event to honor those who had contributed financially to the University.
In 1984, the Scholarship Recipients Reception became a project and was replaced in 1985 with the First Honors Convocation. The Faculty Appreciation Project of 1985 developed into the Faculty Appreciation Party.
Tassels were formed as an auxiliary organization in 1985 under the guidance of the Tassels Committee, Mrs. Julius Sanders (Betty), Chairman, and Mrs. Heard Edwards (Frieda) and Mrs. Don Bottorff (Fran). Twenty-eight members of Tassels were selected the first year.
As the University of South Florida at Fort Myers grew, so did the needs of the campus.
In 1987-88, the Academic Liaison Committee was expanded to include Faculty Contact, and in 1988, Town and Gown assisted with the first MBA Forum.
In 1989, Town and Gown members began assisting the university with the Sun Coast Young Authors’ Conference. The 1989-90 year included work with the College-for-a-Day Program for minority students. The organization expanded to a 75-member limitation when by vote of the membership at the annual meeting on May 25, 1989, the bylaws were amended to disband the Tassels organization and include those members in Town and Gown.
Many exciting events and plans characterized the 1994-1996 Town and Gown years. Mrs. W. Thomas Howard was a gracious hostess for a special luncheon to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Town and Gown organization on February 28, 1994 at the University Club. A reception honoring the Southwest Florida Endowed Chair of Nursing was held on April 20, 1995 at the home of Suzi Martin. The twentieth anniversary of the University of South Florida at Fort Myers was celebrated on campus on April 24, 1995.
A Welcome Coffee was held on September 5, 1995 at the home of President Barbara Hartman for the purpose of acquainting new members with Town and Gown. On November 28, 1995 the Florida Gulf Coast University groundbreaking ceremony was held at the university site.
The 1996-97 Town and Gown year meant continuing service and pride for the University of South Florida at Fort Myers. The society increased its organization member limitation to 100 to provide for the increased service needs of Florida Gulf Coast University. The amalgamation of the University of South Florida at Fort Myers and Florida Gulf Coast University was completed in the fall of 1997.
With the opening of Florida Gulf Coast University, on August 25, 1997, Town and Gown continued the tradition, which was started at the University of South Florida at Fort Myers, of recognizing and honoring faculty members and assisting with student graduations and receptions. Town and Gown also presented the University with its new cobalt blue and emerald green banner, depicting the Florida Gulf Coast University eagle.
Faculty receptions were held in the early FGCU years, but as the university grew so did the faculty and space was limited. The Leadership Appreciation Luncheon was begun in 1999, honoring the deans of the schools and the administrative leaders. Town and Gown assisted the following year in the commission of the President’s Chain of Office and members were involved in a welcome celebration for parent’s weekend. Campus beautification was a focus of information for members in 2001 culminating in a donation to enhance the Howard Hall entry area. Members served as assistants at the annual golf tournament and served to set up and hostess the President’s Scholarship Luncheon, which has become an annual event.
Town and Gown gave of their benevolence in supporting a two-year pledge to the building of the Gresham-Kite Pilot Scholarship House (dedicated in 2004). Then, the exciting opportunity for match funding provided the opportunity for Town and Gown to establish in 2002 the Town and Gown Endowed Scholarship for Ethics in Business. The Renaissance Gala became an annual event and Town and Gown was responsible for setting up and decorating for the ever-expanding silent auction, part of the evening’s festivities.
In 2003 membership was growing and it was decided that a Town and Gown brochure was needed for new and prospective members. And a new event was added. The Freshmen Convocation was held in Alico Arena and in conjunction with that Town and Gown hosted a reception to which were invited all members, faculty, administration and board members and special guests.
Town and Gown of Florida Gulf Coast University has a limited membership, but when able, welcomes new members who share a vision and commitment to support an energized, evolving and challenging university system in southwest Florida.
Town & Gown Past PresidentsToggle More Info
YEAR PRESIDENT 2023-Present Jeannie Martin 2019-2023 Jeanne Dozier 2016-2019 Dr. Judi Hughes 2015 Gail Rumble 2013-2015 Margaret Sirianni 2011-2013 Linda Cardillo 2009-2011 Barbara Church 2007-2009 Trudy Doramus 2004-2007 Mary Sonne 2002-2004 Pat Barton 2000-2002 Leiana Verwest 1998-2000 Fran Bottorff 1997-1998 Terri St. Cerny 1994-1997 Barbara Hartman 1993-1994 Marjorie M. Gruber 1992-1993 Pat Limegrover 1991-1992 Barbara Brown 1990-1991 Mary Lee Mann 1988-1990 Annette Morroni 1986-1988 Betty Sanders 1984-1986 Suzi Martin