Gov. Scott visit surprises FGCU
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 22:10
Students gathering outside of a classroom Monday afternoon in Lutgert Hall were frustrated when told they could not use the elevator. When they inquired about the situation, one student said Rick Scott was about to come out of a classroom.
A staff member blocking the elevator quickly corrected the student, saying, “Governor Scott is here.”
Scott visited Florida Gulf Coast University to familiarize himself with the campus, said Ron Toll, University Provost. Toll led the tour because FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw was out of town.
“It’s a beautiful campus. The students seem very impressive and very passionate,” said Scott, who lives in Naples.
Scott’s visit surprised students and faculty.
The tour was announced to students via email around 1 p.m., and Scott was first sighted on campus a little earlier than his scheduled 3:30 p.m. arrival.
Scott toured Lutgert Hall and Marieb Hall, two of the newer buildings on campus. He also had a private meeting with Toll and Board of Trustees Vice Chairwoman Robbie Roepstorff in the Office of the President.
Ironically, Scott vetoed a budget item in 2011 that would have funded the finishing of Marieb Hall, but seemed pleased with the tour.
Though students didn’t have much time to prepare for the visit, some welcomed it as an opportunity for the governor to see the growth FGCU has made over the years.
While exiting Marieb Hall, Scott stopped to speak to several juniors from the Department of Physical Therapy and Human Performance.
“I think it’s important to see our progress, not just (the) FGCU campus, but in the medical building,” said Salma Silverman, a junior majoring in exercise science.
Others saw the visit as a chance for the governor to see the affects of the budget cuts on students.
“Extend the library hours (and) don’t cut our budget anymore!” said Lucy Horton, a junior also majoring in exercise science.
Angie Cruz, a senior majoring in art, said it might have been more beneficial for students to know about the visit ahead of time.
“I wish I would have known earlier. I think it was pointless because I wish he would’ve met with students (instead of just touring),” Cruz said.
Though students only found out about the visit hours ahead of time, Steven Moore, the University police chief, said the department knew much sooner than students.
“We were made aware of it last week,” Moore said.
Overall, Toll says the visit was successful.
“I think he has a better understanding of our campus, our programs and our people. Our Eagle family,” Toll said. “He was very gracious with his time, and I think his goal was achieved.”
Though the visit may have given Scott a new perspective of the university, Toll said he wishes it were longer so the governor could have seen more of what FGCU has to offer.
“He was on campus for little more than an hour. Obviously ,we hope we’ll be able to have him back in the future.”