FGCU Announces Gift To Establish Fund Dedicated To Renewable Energy Studies

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) has received a $1 million gift from the Backe Foundation Inc. to establish the Backe Chair in Renewable Energy Endowed Fund in order to attract an eminent scholar dedicated to the study of renewable energy. In addition, FGCU has joined the Backe Group in a collaborative venture to develop a 1.2 million square-foot, state-of-the-art research and development area.

FGCU plans to ask the state of Florida to match the funds for an additional $750,000 to create a total $1.75 million fund.

‘Our students will benefit from work in the classroom and labs with the Backe Chair,’ says Wilson G. Bradshaw, president of FGCU. ‘Our faculty will benefit as opportunities for collaborative research emerge and our neighbors in Southwest Florida will benefit as this new scholar engages researchers outside the university in collaborative ventures.’

The chair will teach classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels in renewable energy or those closely related to the discipline; conduct research on this emerging field and disseminate his or her research as widely as possible; conduct outreach activities, including seminars and symposia for the community about the benefits of renewable energy; and support the efforts of the local economic development councils to attract industry partners in renewable energy.

The Florida Gulf Coast University Innovation Hub research park will be the proposed home of a state-of-the-art facility to be built for studying renewable energy. The research park will be located on 241 acres adjacent to and on the south side of Southwest Florida International Airport.

The development team for this project includes John D. Backe Sr., John E. Backe and developer Richard Galvano, owner of Galvano Development.

SOURCE: Florida Gulf Coast University

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