Neuropsychiatrist Erich Liebert devoted his life to healing and teaching. His widow, Bernice Bongiorno, wanted to honor his memory so when she died, she left her charitable remainder trust to Florida Gulf Coast University, endowing funds that serve as lasting tributes to her husband.
Pam Liebert, the couple's daughter who lives in Bonita Springs, says, "He was the love of her life and she wanted to make a gift that would honor him. She knew he loved teaching and thought this was a good way to accomplish that." Mrs. Bongiorno died in March 2008 at age 92. Dr. Liebert died in 1960.
The gift establishes the Dr. Erich Liebert World Affairs Program Endowment and the Dr. Erich Liebert Endowed Scholarship Fund. The former will fund a pre-eminent scholar who will make a number of presentations at the university and throughout the community while also spending time on campus exploring challenging issues of the day with students, faculty and staff.
The scholarship fund will award scholarships to students with financial need who are pursuing fine arts degrees, preferably in music, and who demonstrate service to the community.
Dr. Liebert held a professorship at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, ran a Chicago medical practice and conduct research into psychiatric illness. While the couple lived in Elgin, Ill. for many years, they spent part of each winter on Fort Myers Beach as far back as the 1950s.