Florida Gulf Coast University President Mike Martin may be a relative newcomer to Southwest Florida – arriving in 2017 – but he’s quickly made his mark, and people beyond the university have noticed. Proof of that is his recent recognition as “Person of the Year,” a year after being named “Person to Watch” by the News-Press.
The recent honor came after Martin led FGCU to a number of significant victories, including securing more than $20 million in state funding for operations, reorganizing the university to improve student retention and graduation rates, starting
construction on two new buildings, and adding multiple degree programs.
Martin accepted the “Person of the Year” honor in February at The Westin Cape Coral Resort. “While I’m appreciative and humbled by being named the ‘Person of the Year,’ this is truly a recognition for FGCU and all it means to this community and Southwest Florida,” he said.
In addition to Martin’s 2019 honor:
- FGCU graduate and Alumni Board Member Nadege Borgat was named “Young Professional of the Year” for her work as executive director of The New Beginnings of SWFL, Inc.
- FGCU’s radio and television station, WGCU Public Media, and its General Manager Rick Johnson were also honored as the “Business of the Year.”
“The great people who work at FGCU, our students and our many supporters have earned the honors I’m fortunate to have received.” Even so, it’s not the physical award that holds the most significance for Martin and FGCU. Instead, the presentation harkens back to Martin’s 2017 interview for the job he now holds. “I still believe that the scars I’ve had, and the few trophies I’ve acquired, and the experiences I’ve had in a wide bandwidth of tasks and roles in public higher education, still give me a chance to make the kind of meaningful contribution I care to make,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. This is all about continuing to carry out a passion and commitment to a collection of institutions in public higher education, but one in which I can feel that when I do get to the point where I want to retire, I can look back and say, ‘I made a difference when making a difference made a difference.’”