Hodges University announces President's Scholarship Dinner

Hodges University News

In support of the “Advancing Today’s Woman Scholarship Fund,” Hodges University will hold the inaugural President’s Scholarship Dinner on November 7, 2013 at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club. The theme for the event is “Stepping out for Scholarships,” with all of the proceeds dedicated to the fund. The event is co-chaired by Sandra Lee Buxton and Michele McKenney.

Earlier this year the institution announced the development of a new scholarship aimed at helping local women who are planning to pursue their educational goals at the nonprofit university. 

“With encouragement, inspiration and backing from the Advancing Today’s Woman Founding Council members, we have planned an exceptional evening to raise both funds and awareness for this important scholarship,” said Judy Coleman, Director of Development at Hodges. “By providing scholarship opportunities for these deserving students, we are investing in the women of today as well as the future of our community tomorrow.”

Longtime Naples philanthropist Lavern Norris Gaynor has been named honorary chair of the event. “I have been involved with and have supported students at Hodges University for over 20 years,” said Gaynor. “In that time, I have seen the need for scholarships grow dramatically. Today, more women than men are attending Hodges and their unique circumstances are more evident. This year, I funded the Lavern Gaynor Scholarship to specifically provide assistance to those women who have overcome obstacles in their lives and so deserve the opportunity to fulfill their educational goals. I feel like I am providing a stepping-stone to their success.”

The scholarship is an ideal fit with the university’s demographics: 67 percent of the student body is female and the average student age is 33. A main impetus for the scholarship was the results of “The Status of Women in Southwest Florida” study funded by The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida. Some highlights of the results, released last fall, include:


  • 50.7 percent of the region’s population is comprised of women.
  • Women have a 47.7 percent labor force participation rate compared to 58 percent for men.
  • Female-headed households with children under 5 have a poverty rate of 46.3 percent.
  • Annual earnings above $50,000 are earned by 27.2 percent of men and only 15.3 percent of women.

“This scholarship will empower the goals and aspirations of financially challenged and educationally disadvantaged women by providing access to a quality education and leadership development,” said Coleman.

For more information on the event, including sponsorship information, please contact Judy Coleman, Director of Development, at 239-598-6122.

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