Hodges University Welcomes New Board of Trustees Members

Hodges University News

Hodges University is pleased to announce the appointments of William L. Barton, Jerry Nichols and Richard Pitbladdo to the university’s Board of Trustees.

“Hodges University is proud to welcome William Barton, Jerry Nichols and Richard Pitbladdo to our Board of Trustees. Their professional experience combined with their active involvement within the Southwest Florida community, as well as their commitment to higher education, makes them model additions to our board,” said Dr. Donald Wortham, president of Hodges University.

William L. Barton is the former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of WilsonMiller, Inc., which is now Stantec, Inc. Earning a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Auburn University in 1961, he spent 35 years providing professional services for the land development industry and government infrastructure. Retiring from WilsonMiller, Inc. in 1999, he was a leader in the growth of the company, which increased from 25 to 230+ employees. He also served as a project manager for various projects having a construction value surpassing $300 million.

Barton has served on various committees and board of directors throughout Southwest Florida, including Alico, Inc., Barnett Bank of Naples, Village Banc of Naples and Golf Club of the Everglades, Inc. Currently, he is a principal and rotating chairman of the management committee for the Panther Island Migration Bank, and he is a founding member, corporate secretary and board member for Olde Florida Golf Club, Inc.

Throughout his career, he has earned the Naples Area Board of Realtors Ad Miller Award (2004), Collier County Junior Achievement Laureate (1995), Florida Engineer Society’s Outstanding Service to the Engineering Profession Award (1990), Florida Engineer Society’s Governor Gilchrist Award (1983) and Naples Daily News/Naples Area Chamber of Commerce Collier County Outstanding Citizen’s Award (1979). In addition, Barton received the President’s Volunteer Action award during a White House presentation by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

From 1980-82, Barton was the founding president of the National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth. He personally solicited First Lady Nancy Reagan to participate in America's adolescent drug abuse issues, resulting in her “Just Say No” program.

In his retirement, Barton has remained active in the community, currently serving as a board member with the Baker Park Committee, president of the Southwest Florida Land Preservation Trust and ruling elder with First Presbyterian Church of Naples.

A resident of Southwest Florida for more than 40 years, Jerry F. Nichols is the senior vice president for Brown & Brown Benefits and financial representative for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.

Dedicated to bettering the lives of children and working adults in Southwest Florida, Nichols and his late wife, Arlene, provided financial contributions and volunteerism to their church and various nonprofit organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County, Community Foundation of Collier County, Quest for Kids, American Red Cross and the Ronald McDonald House and Care Mobile. He was also named a Junior Achievement Hall of Fame Laureate.

Instrumental in the growth and development of the university and community, the Nicholses were selected as the 2008 Hodges University Humanitarians of the Year. Two years later, in honor of their support, the School of Professional Studies at Hodges was renamed the Nichols School of Professional Studies.

Nichols continued involvement with Hodges includes serving as chairman of the university’s President’s Society in 2008, as well as support the American Military Veterans Education Fund, which provides scholarship assistance to returning veterans seeking higher education at Hodges. He also established an endowment fund at the university to ensure the future of the institution.

Dr. Richard Pitbladdo is the former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of LTC Global, Inc. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University before serving as a business professor at the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. After a sabbatical at Harvard University, he decided to pursue real-world business experience, joining John Hancock Life Insurance Company as an actuary where he specialized in risk management. As a result of his efforts at John Hancock Life Insurance Company and GE Capital Assurance, he saved both companies from multi-billion dollar losses from the risk of declining interest rates during past decades.

He later founded LTC Global, Inc., which is headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida. LTC Global became the world’s largest distributor of long-term care insurance, a significant distributor of other senior insurance products and a major provider of capital to senior market insurance agencies.

After years of experience in the corporate world, Pitbladdo has been spending his time serving the Southwest Florida community. He is a trustee of Southwest Florida Children’s Charities, board member of the Heights Foundation, and he volunteers to help local businesses achieve their goals.

Regarding his appointment to the Hodges University Board of Trustees, Pitbladdo said, “I look forward to helping Hodges University execute its mission of supporting Southwest Florida by ensuring its residents have access to a quality college education and that local businesses can be supported by a well prepared and educated workforce.”

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