News | August 09, 2022

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Middle-income students get help from couple who understand their challenge

Mary and Rick Reichle understand firsthand the challenges of juggling the responsibilities of life with financing an education and relate to FGCU students who struggle to do the same.

photo shows FGCU donors
Rick and Mary Reichle are big basketball fans. Photo: James Greco/FGCU.

“I was a first-generation student,” says Mary Reichle, who earned her bachelor and master’s degrees in social work from St. Louis University in Missouri. She did this with help from scholarships, grants and hard work – all the while raising her three children as a single mom. Rick Reichle graduated from University of South Florida, also worked throughout his college years and, like his wife, understands and appreciates the determination of FGCU students to succeed.

Both of the Reichles strongly believe in “paying it forward.”

Acting on their belief – and as a testament to the confidence they have in FGCU’s students – they created The Mary T. and Richard G. Reichle, Jr. Scholarship Endowed Fund. An annual award, the fund provides a full-tuition scholarship to a deserving first-generation, middle-income student from Florida. The first scholarship will be awarded for academic year 2022-23.

graphic of magazine cover“We are so appreciative when families are so generous and so willing to help our students and can’t thank the Reichles enough,” says Jorge Lopez, associate vice president of Student Financial Enrollment and Business Services. “Receiving a scholarship means so much to our students, just knowing someone has given them an opportunity to attend college and complete their degree. Scholarship recipients feel a real sense of responsibility to perform.

“What’s different about the Reichles’ scholarship is its criteria in support of middle-income students. While we have many outstanding scholarships for low-income families, the system lacks support for the middle-income bracket. The Reichles’ scholarship helps to close that gap.”

“We’ve been very fortunate in our lives,” Rick Reichle says, “and see it as a sense of duty to give back. We can’t think of anything better than a scholarship.”

“Everything is based on environment,” Mary Reichle says. “If you live in a family that encourages education, it’s easier, but sometimes, even then, you need a little help. Scholarships give families and kids a chance.”

The Reichles have lived in Florida for three decades. They were here when FGCU was just an idea. They watched it grow and develop, observed firsthand the positive ways in which faculty and students impact Southwest Florida, and they decided to help the cause.

The Reichles want only the best for FGCU’s students. In addition to their current endowed fund, they are longtime donors to FGCU’s athletics program, evidenced, in part, by their 19 years as enthusiastic season ticket holders for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Bottom line: Mary and Rick Reichle are not only friends of FGCU today, but their legacy will live on in perpetuity, fueled for generations by the recipients of The Mary T. and Richard G. Reichle, Jr. Scholarship Endowed Fund.