Thursday, 07 December 2006 00:00
Babcock-FGCUWritten by Christine Buckley
Babcock Ranch developer Syd Kitson and his partners made a generous gift to Florida Gulf Coast University today – in the form of land and cash.
Florida Gulf Coast University just got a lot bigger. This afternoon FGCU President William Merwin announced its receipt of 67 acres of land in two parcels at the Babcock Ranch site, which sits in eastern portions of Lee and Charlotte counties. One parcel will be established as an environmental research center – the other as an outreach facility– both run by FGCU. The land also comes with a 3-million-dollar endowment.
FGCU President William Merwin thanked Kitson from the “bottom of his heart”:
“This means generations and generations of students not yet here, that are in the graded schools, will have an opportunity to work in a center…a center for environmental research and outreach in Charlotte County.”
The State of Florida Courtelis Fund will match the gift, effectively creating a 6-million-dollar trust dedicated to building the state-of-the-art facilities.
Syd Kitson says he and the university share a commitment to assuring that sustainable growth and preservation work hand-in-hand:
“I really feel very fortunate to be involved with the people of this university, and the outstanding work that you are doing to meet the long-term environmental planning challenges of Southwest Florida.”
The center will be accessible not only to the university community, but area residents—who will be able to attend public seminars, faculty presentations of research findings and courses on the ecology of Babcock Ranch.