News | May 04, 2018

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FGCU presents honorary doctorate to Arthrex founder

Arthrex Inc. President and Founder Reinhold Schmieding will be awarded an honorary doctoral degree May 6 at Florida Gulf Coast University’s spring commencement as acknowledgement of his outstanding achievements in the healthcare product industry, the company’s regional and global economic impact and its transformative support of FGCU programs, students and alumni.


The FGCU Board of Trustees (BOT) voted in April to award Schmieding a doctor of science degree (Sc.D.) “in recognition of his exceptional scientific innovations and contributions for benefit to the public good.” The honorary doctorate is FGCU’s highest academic recognition, and it has been awarded to seven other distinguished individuals since 1997.


“I have known Reinhold Schmieding personally and professionally for 15 years and believe him to be an exemplary leader in business and education advancement in Southwest Florida,” said BOT Chairman Blake Gable, CEO of Barron Collier Companies. “His legacy will reflect the caliber of character of Florida Gulf Coast University.”


Photo shows Reinhold Schmieding, founder and president of Arthrex Inc.
Reinhold Schmieding

Governor Rick Scott said, “I have had the great fortune to watch Arthrex grow in Florida thanks to the innovation and leadership of Reinhold Schmieding. Reinhold and his company have created thousands of jobs for Floridians, and I am proud that this global company calls Southwest Florida home.”


While saying he greatly appreciates the recognition from FGCU, Schmieding expressed his deep respect for those who have devoted years of study to earn doctoral degrees and acknowledged the synergy that exists between the university’s and the company’s missions.


“In parallel, we seek to make contributions in making people better and providing a stronger cultural and economic impact to our Southwest Florida community,” he said. “Arthrex has a perpetual need for skilled employees as we continue to grow and invest in Southwest Florida. FGCU is a great resource in providing educated students seeking a career in the medical device industry and who wish to live and contribute to our community.”


To those who supported Schmieding’s nomination for the doctorate, noteworthy individuals themselves, he represents the embodiment of leadership, innovative thinking and community engagement that FGCU fosters:


“A man of great character, generosity and vision,” former FGCU Trustee J. Dudley Goodlette wrote in a supporting letter.


“The most progressive leader I have met in many years,” added Naples philanthropist Myra Janco Daniels. “Reinhold lives an exemplary life and has a passion for his business that provides an excellent example for our students.”


“A world-class inventor, business leader and entrepreneur,” wrote Dr. Richard Behr, dean of FGCU’s U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering.


Born into a family of physicians, Schmieding has led the development and marketing of more than 12,000 surgical orthopedic products and techniques and overseen more than 1,100 patents and patents pending that have enhanced quality of life for countless people around the world. Established in 1981 and headquartered in Naples since 1991, Arthrex started with two employees and rapidly grew into a worldwide leader in sports medicine, arthroscopic surgery and orthopedic surgical implant and device design and manufacturing. It now employs 3,000-plus in corporate and manufacturing operations, and 1,000 in worldwide subsidiaries across 13 countries.


And yet, Arthrex remains significantly committed to individuals, institutions and causes close to home. While continuing to experience exceptional corporate growth and demand for its products worldwide, privately held Arthrex has repeatedly ranked among Fortune’s list of best places to work.


“Not only is it one of the area’s largest employers, but the company gives back to the community in significant ways,” according to Goodlette. “The impacts (Reinhold Schmieding) has made through his business, community and philanthropic contributions have helped shape Southwest Florida.”


In addition to employing more than 20 FGCU bioengineering graduates, Arthrex provides opportunities for undergraduates to complement their classroom learning with hands-on industry experience that helps ensure their success. The company also supports the university’s outreach to the next generation of scholars in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by sponsoring annual programs such as the FGCU Coding Academy for elementary, middle and high school students.


With its impact on campus and off, academically as well as economically, Arthrex and its founder are pillars of the Southwest Florida community and beyond, according to Behr.


“We have an outstanding working relationship with Arthrex. This would not exist without the clear support of Mr. Schmieding,” the dean said. “Arthrex engineers regularly serve as industry mentors to groups of bioengineering students who complete yearlong capstone design projects in their senior year. Arthrex also provides summer internship opportunities for our bioengineering students and hires our graduates as full-time employees.”


“Helping surgeons treat their patients better” is how the company states its mission. But in pursuing that calling, Arthrex also is helping FGCU prepare students better for rewarding careers that benefit all of society.


  • Founder and President of Arthrex Inc.
  • B.S. in Physiology, 1977, Michigan State University
  • Honorary Sc.D., 2018, Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Arthrex founded 1981, Westport, Conn.; based in Naples since 1991
  • Company mission: “Helping surgeons treat their patients better”




Q: Why do you think Arthrex has achieved the level of global success it has?


A: Arthrex was founded based on my focused desire to help surgeons treat their patients better with innovative surgical technology. After 36 years, that still is our primary mission and focus. Continuous innovation in all aspects of our business has led to our global success.


Q: Your company has developed many life-changing innovations in pursuit of its mission, “helping surgeons treat their patients better.” Is there one of which you’re most proud?   


A: Arthrex pioneered arthroscopic surgery technology in which joint injuries can be treated with a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. Today, we are reducing the need for surgery with the use of orthobiologics [substances that help heal injuries more quickly] in the treatment of osteoarthritis, tendonitis and acute muscle injury. In the future, combined least-invasive outpatient surgery with orthobiologics will provide surgeons and patients with the best possible outcomes for most orthopedic procedures.


Q: Arthrex has been recognized repeatedly as an outstanding workplace. What does it take to accomplish that?


A: Maintaining the highest standards in how we take care of our employees. As a private company, we invest in our employee health and well-being with a private medical clinic and wellness program for all employees and their families, free freshly prepared lunches for all employees and special perks and benefits that go above and beyond what most other companies offer their employees. We treat them like family members with the respect, empathy and recognition they deserve as they contribute to Arthrex’s mission of helping surgeons treat their patients better and an unwavering commitment to uncompromising quality.  We are proud of our national ranking as one of the top 100 companies to work for in America — now with close to 3,000 happy employees in Southwest Florida and growing!