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SWFL Children’s Charities helps FGCU meet pediatric-care demand

With the April opening of the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers, demand for pediatric health-care professionals in our region has never been greater. And with a health-professions program that features one of the top nursing schools in the state, FGCU stands ready to meet the challenge.

One of FGCU’s partners in producing the child healers of tomorrow, SWFL Children’s Charities, advanced the mission in November by presenting the first $200,000 installment of a $1 million pledge to establish a restricted scholarship fund for pediatric health-care students in the Elaine Nicpon Marieb College of Health & Human Services. Several students from the college joined trustees from the charitable group and university representatives at a reception in Marieb Hall to honor the occasion.

One of those students, senior nursing major and first-generation collegian Linh Truong, told the gathering why gifts such as this one are crucial for scholarship recipients.

“I have great plans to do great things,” said Truong, whose goal is to specialize in pediatric or neonatal intensive care after continuing her graduate education in FGCU’s nurse practitioner or nurse anesthesia programs. “Opportunities such as this scholarship help me and my fellow recipients build strength and courage, and encourage us to work hard and stay driven.”

The gift marks the third major contribution SWFL Children’s Charities has made to FGCU, the others being the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest Scholarship Endowed Fund, named for the charitable group’s signature fundraiser; and an endowment to establish the Southwest Florida Children’s Charities Music Therapy Program.

“Our goal is to help ensure that children in our region have access to the best health care possible, and it starts with educating students to become dedicated professionals in our community,” said Andie Vogt, SWFL Children’s Charities trustee and director. “FGCU has an extremely high board passing rate and job placement record for graduates, and works closely with local clinical partners such as Lee Health to ensure they are well prepared for caring for our community.”

Appreciation of the partnership with SWFL Children’s Charities was underscored by FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw. “As we educate the next generation of health-care providers for children in our region, SWFL Children’s Charities is right by our side, generously providing scholarships for deserving students,” he said. “We are grateful for their continued partnership, which allows so many students to prepare for the vital role of serving our kids and our community.”