College History


  • Florida Legislature established Edison Junior College (EJC) and appropriated funding for a permanent campus.


  • Edison Junior College opened in temporary quarters at the Andrew Gwynne Institute, with a second center at Dunbar High School.
  • Dr. Charles E. Rollins inaugurated as the first President of Edison Junior College.
  • Dr. David G. Robinson appointed as the college's first Academic Dean.


  • EJC's first athletic team, men's basketball, took the floor under the guidance of EJC's first coach, Tom Garcia.
  • Donald Lee McDaniel, who was a transfer student from Florida State University, became EJC's first graduate.


  • EJC's first formal commencement ceremonies were held for a graduating class of 67 students.


  • New campus of Edison Junior College opened on an 80-acre site off Cypress Lake Drive, with Building B (Leonhardt Hall), Building C (Robisnon Hall, and a maintenance building that contained showers and locker rooms for physical education and athletics.
  • Dr. David G. Robinson inaugurated as second President of Edison Junior College.


  • Building E (Learning Resources, Doris Corbin Auditorium, Auditorium Gallery) completed.


  • First District Board of Trustees appointed by Governor; Travis A. Gresham, Jr. elected first chairman.
  • Lee Memorial Hospital Auxiliary gave $50,000 to establish a nursing program at EJC.
  • Edison Junior College Endowment Corporation formed.


  • First nursing class graduated from Edison Junior College.


  • Health and Physical Education Building completed.


  • Name of college changed to Edison Community College (ECC) to reflect more comprehensive mission.


  • First credit courses offered by ECC via television.
  • Centers of the college opened in Charlotte County and Collier County.


  • Building A (Applied Sciences) completed.
  • ECC Endowment Corporation, with a minimal balance of $34.25, reactivated to assist in development of private


  • Edison Community College faculty elected to organize for collective negotiations.


  • Building F (Humanities) completed.


  • Art Annex (sculpture building) added.
  • Groundbreaking held for USF branch on 50-acre site adjacent to ECC.


  • Dedication of USF campus and establishment of ECC/USF Learning Resources Center and other cooperative arrangements between the two colleges, including the 2+2 program.


  • Edmund Kulakowski Observatory established and named for former ECC astronomy and geology professor, Edmund A. Kulakowski.
  • ECC Retirees Association formed.


  • Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall opened.


  • Building G (Hendry Hall) completed.


  • Charlotte Center moved to new interim location in Punta Gorda.
  • Foundation for the Performing Arts Hall established as advisory and fundraising entity for the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.
  • Charlotte County government donated 80 acres on a long-term lease to the college for the construction of a permanent campus in Charlotte County.


  • Construction began on new Collier Campus at Lely on a 50-acre site near Naples.
  • Dr. David G. Robinson retired from from presidency.
  • District Board of Trustees named Dr. Kenneth P. Walker as the third President of Edison Community College.
  • District Board of Trustees contracted with Professional Facilities Management (PFM) for professional management of the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.
  • District Board of Trustees adopted resolution to build a permanent campus of Edison Community College in Charlotte County.


  • Dr. Kenneth P. Walker inaugurated as the third President of Edison Community College.
  • Share the Vision Councils formed throughout the college district to provide input into a long-range plan for the Edison Community College.
  • 2002 Edison adopted as Master Action Plan for the next decade.
  • Collier Campus at Lely opened in Naples.


  • Project HOPE, an early intervention program for at-risk or troubled youth, was established at Edison Community College.


  • Charlotte County Campus opened on a 204-acre site on Airport Road in Punta Gorda.


  • Edison University Center opened on Lee County Campus through collaborative partnerships with colleges and universities to provide enhanced access to upper division studies for Edison graduates.


  • Kenneth P. Walker Health Science Hall opened on Lee County Campus.
  • Florida Legislature enacted legislation that grants authority to community colleges to offer limited baccalaureate degrees.


  • Child Care Center opened on Lee County Campus.


  • New Strategic Plan, The Decade of Promise, launched.
  • Madeleine R. Taeni Student Services Hall opened on Lee County Campus.
  • Edison College celebrates 40th Anniversary of opening of college.


  • Bob Rauschenberg Gallery named at Lee Campus
  • Collier Campus Conference Center completed
  • Florida State Legislature changes Edison Community College name to Edison College
  • 1,000 people participate in Share the Vision Councils


  • The Florida State Board of Education authorizes first baccalaureate degree, the Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Safety Management
  • Edison State receives accreditation as a baccalaureate degree granting institution
  • The U.S. Department of Labor grants $1.99 million for expansion of nursing program
  • 2005 graduates of the College's accredited Radiologic Technology Program achieve a 100% pass rate on all national certification examinations.
  • President Kenneth P. Walker receives the Business Building Leadership Award from the Chamber of Southwest Florida in recognition of his personal and organizational leadership, management and advocacy resulting in a positive contribution to the region and its economy.


  • A $2.3 million gift establishes Richard H. Rush library at Lee Campus
  • Edison College Foundation, Inc. holds assets of $42 million
  • Student enrollment approaches 16,000
  • A $750,000 gift from Alice W. Lockmiller funds an endowed chair for the Early
  • Childhood Education Program The Richard D. Yarger Science Hall is dedicated in recognition of Dr. Yarger's service to the Charlotte Campus as founding Provost from 1984-2002.


  • Gained District Board approval to name the Charlotte Campus Student Services and Administration Building the Hugo and Wallie Spatz Hall
  • Launched the Decade of Promise Strategic Plan with associated Vission, Values, and Mission
  • Named the Lee Campus facilities building the Ronald W. White Hall, honoring the College's district director of facilities, planning and management.
  • Received a $150,000 SUCCEED Florida continuation grant from the Florida Department of Education to help address the critical teacher shortage throughout the region.
  • Edison State's program for dental assistants and dental hygienists received accreditation with commendation by the American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation - CODA - with no recommendations for improvements.
  • Students presented the prestigious Bob Graham Award to Holland T. Salley of Naples. The honor is awarded each year by the Florida Junior Community College Student Government Association [FJCCSGA] to one person in Florida chosen as the best community supporter of student government activities.
  • Edison State collaborated with the Edison & Ford Estates to bring the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival to Fort Myers for the first time since the festival began touring nationally in 1981.
  • To celebrate the profound and enduring impact of Mina Miller Edison on Southwest Florida, the College's Foundation established the Mina Edison Society, endowing a scholarship fund in Mrs. Edison's name.
  • As part of its regular accreditation review, Edison State's Respiratory Care Program received a commendation for quality from the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.


  • Awarded 21 Bachelor's degrees since graduating the first class of baccalaureate students.
  • Changed the name to Edison State College, reflecting the institution's advanced status as a baccalaureate-granting state college.
  • Unveiled a new College logo to reflect the College's expanded mission.
  • Expanded opportunities for Southwest Florida students through an agreement to share the Charlotte Campus with Florida Gulf Coast University.
  • Installed a $75,000 grant-funded Emergency Notification System to alert students, faculty and staff of a campus crisis.
  • Staged "Operation Suspicious Package," a Bomb Squad Drill on the Lee Campus, and participated in a practice domestic terrorist attack at the Charlotte Campus, co-sponsored by the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Recognized successful alumni and cultivated their participation through publication of Changing Lives magazine.
  • Received Region 24 Workforce Development Board's "Champion Award" for Edison's Career Academies "Summer ESCAPE" camp.
  • Hosted the Bob Rauschenberg Memorial Service in the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, following the artist's death in May.
  • Completed extensive remodeling across the district, including a $7 million renovation of the Richard H. Rush Library at the Lee Campus, dedicated in January of 2009.
  • Graduated 1,417 students who received degrees or certificates in academic year 2008-09.


  • Increased enrollment from 16,000 credit students in 2004 to 20,000 in 2009, with a growth rate of 53% over the last three years.
  • Admitted 492 new degree-seeking students to one of Edison State College's six baccalaureate programs.
  • Created the Edison State College Department of Public Safety. Two officers were sworn in at the May 2009 meeting of the District Board of Trustees.
  • Opened the Edison Collegiate High School on the Charlotte Campus, and gained Board approval to create a charter high school on the Lee Campus.
  • Initiated planning for the Edison Education System, which will provide stronger Pre-K through Baccalaureate learning opportunities and career pathways for area students. Initiated charter high schools at the Charlotte and Lee campuses.
  • In partnership with area hospitals, expanded the evening and weekend Nursing (RN) program, elevating the potential graduation capacity to nearly 300 students annually.
  • Established the Rapid Recovery Program with region 24 Southwest Florida Workforce Board to provide immediate job training, academic counseling and financial aid to displaced workers across the district.
  • Partnered with the North Naples Fire and Rescue Department to create a Fire Academy Certificate Program in Collier County.
  • Staged an annual symposium on Architecturally Green Design and Development.
  • Added two new programs of study in the areas of Firefighter and Health Information Technology/Management.
  • Named 41st in the nation in delivery of associate degrees in Health Professions, and among the top 20 producers of associate degrees in nursing by Community College Week.
  • Maintained a 14-year record of 100% pass rates on national board examinations for the Dental Hygiene Program, which typically ranks within the top 10% in the nation.
  • Established the Edison State College Financing Corporation to provide direct-support funds for Edison State College.
  • Successfully advanced to Level II accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, achieving approval to offer baccalaureate degrees.
  • Successfully completed reaccreditation visits for the Dental Hygiene and Respiratory Care programs.
  • Expanded high quality facilities for teaching and learning as outlined in the Educational Plant Survey and Facilities Master Plan. The square footage of Edison-owned buildings since 2005 has grown from 908,388 in 2005 to 1,030,526 in 2009, and the number of acres from 363 to 412.
  • Constructed and dedicated the University of Florida Pediatric Dental Clinic and the Early Childhood Development Center on the Collier Campus, the first Gold Level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED certified building in Collier County.
  • Dedicated the Dr. Hugo D. and Wallie Spatz Hall, the Richard D. Yarger Science Hall and the JJ Jones Health Science Hall on the Charlotte Campus.
  • Won a bronze Telly Award for outstanding achievement, for "There's a Little Bit of Genius in Everybody" campaign.
  • Based on priority needs communicated from the Edison State College Board of Trustees,

    • Received $20,902,025 in new gifts, and $10,322,958 in state matching gifts.
    • Awarded $7,572,303 to Edison State College students for scholarships.
    • Provided $4,907,842 for academic and instructional support.
  • Launched five new baccalaureate programs, in Secondary Education Biology, Secondary Education Mathematics, Elementary Education and Supervision and Management.
  • Designated the Lee Campus Cultural Resources Center to include a fine art museum with a permanent collection.
  • Linked all four campuses via two-way video technology to reduce travel time for students.
  • Added needed Internet and computer projection technology to over 40 classrooms.
  • Implemented wireless internet access at all campuses.
  • Reduced paper through implementation of electronic forms.
  • Served over 17,000 Edison 'myPortal' web site users.
  • Experienced a 32% increase in number of visits to the web site.
  • Supported over 2,300 computers in labs, classrooms and offices at Edison State.
  • Created Edison Online, with offerings that encompass the entire Associate in Arts degree, supported by appropriate student and technology services.
  • Recorded a 50% increase in number of students enrolled in online courses.
  • Acquired a 19-acre site in LaBelle to develop a fourth campus.


  • Graduated more than 1,600 students in the Fall Commencement ceremony, including the first class of Bachelor of Science in Nursing students. Diploma breakdown by degree program:

    • Bachelor Degree: 126
    • Associate in Arts Degree: 974
    • Associate in Science Degree: 367
    • Certificate Programs: 167
  • Partnering with local community parks and recreation, Edison began offering intramurals, club sports, and fitness programs.
  • Attained reaffirmation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in conjunction with the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP)
  • Submitted the ten-year Compliance Report to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • On the Lee Campus, began construction of the College's first student housing project, a four- story, 405-bed residence hall.
  • Completed the Lee Campus Nursing Building and Museum of Medical History
  • Completed construction for a Lee Campus Classroom Building
  • Began construction of the Collier Campus Student Services building and the Allied Health Building
  • Received a $1.5 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to continue Edison's highly successful Student Support Services (SSS) TRIO Program
  • The National Council for Marketing and Public Relations awards Edison the silver medal in the "Brochure/Flyer" category.
  • Named the new Collier Allied Health Building for Allen and Marla Weiss in recognition of a $1 million gift
  • Provided more than 800 students with $1.2 million in private scholarship aid
  • Enhanced online opportunities for baccalaureate students
  • Implemented four new baccalaureate programs:

    • Cardiopulmonary Sciences BAS
    • Middle Grades Language Arts Education
    • Middle Grades Mathematics Education
    • Middle Grades Science Education
  • Thanks to a community bequest, the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery received new track lighting, flooring and an air control system
  • Opened new Lee Campus Collegiate High School with showcase technology
  • Opened new Nursing Student simulation labs


  • Awarded 299 Bachelor's degrees in fields of critical need, including Elementary Education and Nursing.
  • Maintained a 16-year record of 100% pass rates on the national board examinations for the Dental Hygiene Program.
  • Selected the College's fourth president, Dr. Jeff Allbritten, to assume office July 31, 2012.
  • Grew the College's building space from 908,388 square feet in 2005 to 1,177,217 in 2012, and the number of acres from 363 to 412.
  • Provided classes for over 600 students at the Hendry/Glades Center in LaBelle.
  • On the Lee Campus, dedicated the Lighthouse Commons Student Housing complex
  • Expanded high quality facilities for teaching and learning as outlined in the Educational Plant Survey and Facilities Master Plan.
  • Opened the Lee Campus Classroom Building (Classroom U)
  • Opened two new facilities on the Collier Campus, the Student Services building and the Allied Health Building (Weiss Hall)
  • Increased FTE enrollment from 8,067.5 in 2007-08 to 11,968.9 in 2011-12, a growth rate of 48.4% over the last five years.
  • Provided 2,350 Dual Enrollment students with a head start on their College education.
  • The Collier Student Government Association (SGA) received the Most Distinguished Delegation award, as well as the Honorable Senator Award, the Distinguished Senator Award, and the Excellence in Participation Award at the Florida Model Legislature (FML) Conference in Tallahassee.
  • Through the HOPE Scholar Program, the College, in conjunction with the Edison State College Foundation, distributed more than $800,000 in 2011-12 to 325 promising, low-income, first-generation-in-college students. To date, over 1,650 students have graduated from the program. HOPE Scholars are eligible to continue on in the Baccalaureate HOPE program at Edison State or the HOPE Advanced Program at FGCU.
  • Added three Public Safety vehicles to the College fleet to serve resident students, expanded Lee Campus Public Safety coverage to 24 hours a day.
  • Implemented the Cornerstone Experience course as part of the College's Quality Enhancement Plan, serving 217 students in the first cohort in Spring of 2012.
  • Provided training to 339 faculty, staff and administrators to support the Quality Enhancement Plan.
  • Received $2.8 million in new gifts.
  • Awarded $1.3 million in scholarships to over 850 Edison State College students.
  • Provided $852,604 for academic and instructional support.
  • Received a $100,000 gift from the Gould Family Trust for the Charlotte Campus Nursing Program.
  • Recorded over $1.5 million in matured planned gifts in support of scholarships, the nursing program and other college needs.
  • Dedicated the Allen and Marla Weiss Health Sciences Hall on the Collier Campus.
  • Commemorating 50 years of service to its communities, the College received state and local recognition, including a proclamation from the Board of County Commissioners of Collier County, and resolutions from the Florida House and Florida Senate.
  • Served over 24,000 Edison 'myPortal' web site users.
  • Submitted the ten-year Certification of Compliance Report and a Focused Report to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC).
  • Received accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission for Edison State College's Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
  • Welcomed more than 10,000 visitors to the Rauschenberg Gallery and over 1,400 to the Museum of Medical History.
  • Drew more than 190,000 patrons to a wide variety of cultural programs at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall on the Lee Campus.
  • Offered the fourth Annual GreenFest Expo March 24 on the Collier Campus.
  • Staged four student theatre productions across the district, including "Hairspray" and "Servant of Two Masters." The Charlotte Campus rendition of "The Crucible" was named the most ambitious production of the season by the Florida College System Activities Association.
  • Performed numerous concerts for community enjoyment, thanks to the College's exemplary Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band, Choir and Symphony Orchestra.
  • Received a US Department of Education grant for $1,312,500 to support the college's Upward Bound Program over the next five years.
  • Received renewal of the Carl Perkins grant of $605,560 to provide academic, vocational, and technical skills to students enrolled in workforce programs.
  • Hosted the 17th Annual Circles of Care Early Childhood Conference at the Lee Campus in February, drawing more than 600 professionals in the field of early childhood education.
  • The Charlotte Campus expanded its commitment to civic engagement through support of the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, the Homeless Coalition, and the Peace River Wildlife Center.
  • Helping make teaching relevant to students, the Humanities department presented a two-day colloquium, Education for a New Humanity, with Dr. David Orr.
  • Received State approval to offer five FSW bachelor degrees within the School of Education.


  • Edison announces $10K Bachelor's degrees in Secondary Biology Education and Middles Grades Science Education, in response to Governor Rick Scott's challenge to all colleges
  • Governor appoints Tristan "Tris" Chapman and reappoints Julia Perry to serve on the college's District Board of Trustees
  • The fifth annual GreenFest is held on the Collier Campus on March 23
  • Two Edison students are elected President and Vice President of the Florida College System Student Government Association, a historic first
  • Edison Collegiate High School, Charlotte Campus, holds its first graduation on May 17, 2013
  • Edison State is reaffirmed by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools (SACSCOC) Board of Trustees
  • Edison's EMT program ranked in the Top 80 Nationally
  • Edison State recognized as Top College to Teacher Education
  • District Board of Trustees approves name change to Florida SouthWestern State College


  • Florida Senate and House sub-committees approve name change to Florida SouthWestern State College
  • Town Hall meetings are held in January for input on Buccaneer's logo
  • Governor Rick Scott appoints Byron Donalds and Eric Loche, and reappoints Braxton Rhone and Chris Vernon to the college's District Board of Trustees
  • Carl McAloose is named Director, Intercollegiate Athletics, starts on February 17
  • Edison students elected President and Vice President of the Florida College System Student Government Association for the second consecutive year
  • Edison State College holds its final commencement ceremony under the Edison name, May 2, 2014
  • Edison Collegiate High School, Lee Campus, holds first graduation ceremony
  • Edison Collegiate High School, Charlotte Campus, holds second graduation ceremony
  • College announces FSW Spirit Day on July 1 to celebrate its new name, Florida SouthWestern State College
  • Robert Iamurri selected as head softball coach