Published: Nov 01, 2012 3:49 PM EDT
Updated: Nov 01, 2012 5:02 PM EDT

NORTH NAPLES, Fla. - The founding president of Hodges University is stepping down after 22 years on the job.

Dr. Terry McMahan is retiring, and on Thursday night, hundreds of people are honoring him at an event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in North Naples.The university started in a strip mall in East Naples and was called International College. Since then it has grown to 3,000 students with campuses in bothNorth Naples and Fort Myers.

The university changed its name to Hodges University after receiving a very generous donation from Earl and Thelma Hodges.

Dr. McMahan says, "It's been a wonderful journey. The most rewarding experience of my life, not something I intended to do when I started my educational career, but Hodges University is a family."

Dr. Jeanette Brock, the current Executive Vice-President of Academic Affairs will take over as president when Dr. McMahan steps down. She has 30 years of experience in higher education, with half of that at Hodges.