News | February 22, 2016

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Alumni Awards honor 6 distinguished grads

The FGCU Alumni Association honored six outstanding graduates Friday during an awards ceremony that was part of its annual three-day Alumni Weekend festivities.

Alumni Award winners include Scott Kelly, left, Stefanie Ink-Edwards, Mireille Lauture, Matthew Kaye and Amanda Rainwater.
Alumni Award winners include Scott Kelly, left, Stefanie Ink-Edwards, Mireille Lauture, Matthew Kaye and Amanda Rainwater.

Dr. Mireille Lauture was recognized as the 2016 Alumna of Distinction. The association’s most prestigious award honors individuals who have distinguished themselves professionally and personally and have demonstrated dedication to serving their communities and their alma mater. Lauture earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling from FGCU in 2000 and a doctorate in educational psychology at Walden University in 2007. She works as the director of the Center for International Education at Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers.

Lauture has written and published five bilingual children’s storybooks based on Haitian folklore and travels across the country to read and deliver her books to children through a nonprofit organization she founded to support literacy in impoverished countries. In 2014, her organization, Mancy’s Haitian Folktale Collection Inc., partnered with JetBlue Airways to launch a humanitarian effort to bring books and school supplies to children in Haiti. (Read more in Pinnacle)

“I’m beaming with pride,” Lauture said after accepting her award. “It’s really an honor for me to be part of the FGCU family.”

Lauture represents FGCU’s ideals in action and truly is making a difference in the world, according to Alumni Association Board Member Lauren Schuetz, who announced the award winners at the reception.

Soaring Eagle winner Armando Hernandez with President Bradshaw.
Soaring Eagle winner Armando Hernandez with President Bradshaw.

“Because of the impact she has had at the local, national and international levels, the Alumni Association Awards Committee believes that this graduate is an ideal choice to join the Alumni of Distinction Society,” Schuetz said. “At FGCU, service is at the heart of our mission. This alum has taken what she learned as a student and shared it with the world, inspiring others to learn and to serve. She embodies what it means to be an Eagle and demonstrates that The FGCU Effect reaches around the globe.”

The Alumni Association also welcomed five graduates into the Soaring Eagles Society, one from each of the university’s colleges. Soaring Eagles are alumni who have earned their degree from FGCU within the last decade, have dedicated time and resources to their communities and to FGCU and are considered rising stars in their professions. The winners:

  • College of Arts and Sciences: Matthew Kaye (2012, History). With 10 years of experience teaching in the Lee County School District, this North Fort Myers High School instructor recently was named Lee County Teacher of the Year and is pursuing a doctorate in education at FGCU.
  • College of Education: Amanda Rainwater (2013, Secondary Social Science Education). She was recently named the Lee County Social Studies Teacher of the Year, volunteers as an advisor to numerous student organizations at Cypress Lake High School and advances FGCU by identifying donors in the community to support university programs.
  • Lutgert College of Business: Stefanie Ink-Edwards (2008, Marketing). A volunteer for numerous causes and nonprofits, she serves as development director for Community Cooperative, a Fort Myers organization made up of social service entrepreneurs fighting to end homelessness and hunger in the community.
  • College of Health Professions and Social Work: Armando Hernandez (2014, Exercise Science). A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he provides clinical care and support services to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their families as a program coordinator and health trainer for the Southwest Florida arm of the Boston Red Sox Home Base Program.
  • U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering: Scott Kelly (2014, Bioengineering). He works as an engineer at Ideas2Production, a Naples firm he co-founded that helps young entrepreneurs develop new products for the marketplace.

“All of our honorees represent exceptional examples of FGCU alumni accomplishing great things in a variety of endeavors,” said Director of Alumni Relations Kimberly Wallace. “They are committed to serving and improving their communities and to maintaining strong connections with the university.”

The Alumni Association is dedicated to engaging FGCU’s more than 23,000 graduates in a lifelong allegiance with university and fellow alumni, cultivating opportunities for personal and professional growth after graduation, celebrating pride in the principles and achievements of FGCU and its graduates and inspiring individual investment in the university’s future.