News | January 07, 2016


Seidler family gift supports College of Arts & Sciences

3 - minute read

Sanibel residents Lee and Gene Seidler, and Lee Seidler’s daughter, Laurie, have pledged to create a fund that will strengthen the College of Arts & Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University.

President Wilson G. Bradshaw chats with donors Lee and Gene Seidler at the renaming celebration for Seidler Hall.
President Wilson G. Bradshaw chats with donors Lee and Gene Seidler at the renaming celebration for Seidler Hall.

President Wilson G. Bradshaw announced the gift Thursday, Jan. 7 at a ceremony that renamed Academic Building 7 – the home of the College of Arts & Sciences – as Seidler Hall, in tribute to the family’s generosity. The gift establishes the Seidler Fund, which will benefit professors and students in the college and, ultimately, all of Southwest Florida.

“Lee’s and Gene’s love of the arts extends to a deep appreciation of the value of a liberal arts education and influenced this selected area for support at FGCU,” Bradshaw said. “Their generosity will enhance the college’s academic excellence and student success.”

In explaining the motivation behind the gift, Lee Seidler said, “There is no better foundation for success – by any measure – than a liberal arts education. Creativity, flexibility and reason allow us to shape the future.”

The gift will enable the college to invest in a wide range of programs and opportunities, said Robert Gregerson, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

“The Seidler family’s generous gift will provide new learning opportunities for students in the College of Arts & Sciences through support for undergraduate scholarship, internships and mentoring, especially among students in the humanities disciplines,” he said.

“It also generates new levels of support for programs in the visual and performing arts, and for special student projects across the college. In addition, our academic programs will be enlivened through public presentations and workshops given by renowned scholars. This gift will touch the lives of countless students in the years ahead. We are extremely grateful to the Seidlers for their thoughtful and generous support.”

Lee and Gene Seidler are longtime supporters of FGCU.
Lee and Gene Seidler are longtime supporters of FGCU.

The Seidlers became involved with the university through the Bower School of Music & the Arts, and have bequeathed to the university a work by the late Robert Rauschenberg, an internationally renowned artist and former Captiva resident. They also support other art-related programs, including FGCU’s 24 Hour Festival, an annual competition in which students have 24 hours to create a work of art in various media.

Lee Seidler also is a member of the FGCU Foundation Board and chairs its audit committee, which he helped create. He is a noted authority on accounting, having had an acclaimed career as senior managing director for Bear, Stearns & Co. and serving as the Price Waterhouse Professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University. He has written six books on accounting and taxation and is a much-sought-after expert witness in accounting and auditing cases.

Gene Seidler enjoyed a distinguished career as an educator, including 14 years in the Lee County School System.

Dr. Seidler has long served on the board of directors for The Shubert Foundation in New York City, a leading supporter of live performing arts. He is also the founder and chairman emeritus of the Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York.

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