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FGCU celebrates new graduates at its fall commencement ceremonies

Hundreds of students will celebrate at Florida Gulf Coast University on Sunday as they will become graduates. This will be one of the university’s biggest fall commencement ceremonies.

FGCU will be awarding over 1,000 degrees to students this fall. University officials said this year is one of its larges classes, with 848 students walking across the stage on Sunday. It is such a big day for the soon-to-be alumni, their families and biggest supporters, with lots of bittersweet tears.

There will be two graduation ceremonies at Alico Arena, a stadium in the North Lake area of the campus. The college of business, engineering, along with the health and human services, will start at 9 a.m. The college of arts and sciences, as well as the college of education, will begin at 1 p.m.

MORE: Stream the FGCU graduation ceremonies LIVE

FGCU has come a long way since its opening 22 years ago.

“It’s the crowning jewel of all their time here,” said Susan Brays, FGCU register. “It’s really a very happy day they’re celebrating with their families, with faculty and staff and with their friends.”

In addition, Sunday marks the first graduation of the new physician assistant program at FGCU. It is a small program, but one that has a lot of hands-on learning and technology to help facilitate learning. There are only 20 seats available in the program, but the demand is immense. Last year, FGCU received around 1,500 applications.

Faculty told WINK News they are incredibly proud of this group and excited to call them future colleagues as they walk the stage, starting at 9 a.m.

“There’s certainly a big demand in Southwest Florida for increasing of health care providers and the physician assistants are able to help meet that need,” said Robert Hawks, director of the physician assistant program at FGCU. “So the university had done a lot of research going back to 2012-2013, determining the need for additional physician assistants.”

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
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