Dana and Barron Collier III, supporters of Florida Gulf Coast University for two decades, have enhanced their giving with a pledge of $4 million to support scholarships for Collier County students. The gift was announced Nov. 20 at the annual President's Scholarship Luncheon, which took place at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs.
Also honored at the event that brings scholarship donors and their recipients together were John and Dorothy Guigon, who are also longtime supporters who recently enhanced their giving with a deferred gift that will help the university attract and retain top students in perpetuity.
Barron Collier said he and his wife were motivated to make the gift because "we wanted to give back to Collier County for being so great to us. We have watched the creation of this new university and have seen what went into it. It was fascinating. FGCU is just going to continue to grow and get better.
"We need to look at the next generation to be tomorrow's leaders of business. We need to be investing in the best education possible for them. We feel blessed to be able to give back in this way and hope others will be motivated to give as well."
The Colliers first endowed a scholarship fund in 1995, two years before FGCU opened its doors. Since then, they have developed an even closer relationship after seeing their daughter attend and graduate from the university.
"We were impressed by how personable the faculty and staff members were and how the professors really get to know their students," he said.
In accepting the gift, President Wilson G. Bradshaw said, "Not many people have been connected to the university for as long as your family has. We are deeply grateful for your longstanding generosity, which will help Collier County students obtain the education they need to be successful."
The Dana and Barron Collier III Scholarship Endowed Fund awards scholarships to deserving students from Collier County. The recent gift comes in the form of a $4 million life insurance policy.
Barron Collier III was named for his grandfather, an advertising magnate and entrepreneur who founded the company that still bears his name. Collier III, who goes by Barry, serves as the chairman of the board of the Barron Collier Companies, which owns significant amounts of land in Collier County, as well as interests in real estate, mineral management and agriculture.