FGCU’s new president has her work cut out for her.
Aysegul Timur is taking the helm at a time when college costs are soaring nationwide and the state is taking a harder look at what is being taught.
Timur’s background is different from many of her predecessors.
WINK News spoke to Timur in a one-on-one interview on the challenges ahead and the college’s future.
Timur’s mission is to keep Florida Gulf Coast University’s graduates in Southwest Florida.
“One thing I’m known for in this area is for my collaboration and my partnerships,” she told WINK News.
Timur said FGCU is “the largest workforce provider” in the area.
“Our students graduate, and our job is … to make sure that they are connected to the employers in this region,” Timur said, adding, “so we have the workforce, they work in our organizations in the region and we all grow together.”
It’s a big leap from what was originally as a largely commuter school.
Each of the school’s four previous presidents have grown the school.
Under the university’s second president, Bill Merwin, a bigger vision included dorms, fundraising and an athletic program.
The athletic program paid huge dividends in 2013 when the men’s basketball team became a nationwide phenomenon.
Wilson Bradshaw, the school’s third president, funneled the increased interest in the school and into higher standards to be admitted.
The most recent president, Mike Martin, brought the school through a pandemic and opened The Water School, a growing accomplishment for a school committed to being an essential citizen in Southwest Florida.
WINK News spoke to Timur about what the school faces in the future regarding the political environment.
“There are a lot of things as law coming to our way, but FGCU is such a young, innovative, nimble and flexible organization and institution that we are able to really navigate and find our balance, how to implement all those things happening in our state,” Timur said.
In terms of college costs, Timur said FGCU “is one of the most affordable institutions in the region,” adding that scholarships are also available.
Timur said she hopes FGCU becomes part of life for everyone in the area.
“My vision is, for the five-county region, every corner, you turn, FGCU is there, and either we have, again, a program — their academic program there — or maybe we have a concert, there you come and enjoy our students,” Timur said.
The school is gearing up to make an announcement. WINK News will bring you details on Tuesday.