Florida SouthWestern State College

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Florida SouthWestern
State College
FSW logo
MottoA Higher Degree of You
TypePublic state college
Established1962 (1962)
Budget$65,417,071 (2013-14) [1]
PresidentDr. Jeffery Allbritten
Academic staff
677 (170 full-time, 507 adjunct)[1]
Administrative staff
764 (356 full-time, 408 part-time)[1]
Students16,576 (Fall 2018)[1]
Location, ,
United States

26°33′05″N 81°53′14″W / 26.551348°N 81.887241°W / 26.551348; -81.887241Coordinates: 26°33′05″N 81°53′14″W / 26.551348°N 81.887241°W / 26.551348; -81.887241
ColorsPurple      and aqua     
NicknameThe Buccaneers [2]

Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW or Florida SouthWestern) is a state college in Southwest Florida. Formally known as Edison State College, The college has its main campus in Fort Myers in Lee County, satellite campuses in Charlotte and Collier counties, and outreach programs in Hendry and Glades counties. It was founded in 1962 and named after Thomas Edison as Edison Junior College, renamed Edison Community College in 1972, renamed Edison College in 2004, renamed Edison State College in 2008, and finally renamed Florida SouthWestern State College in 2014.


The college, originally known as Edison Junior College, admitted its first students in the fall of 1962. The college was named after inventor and industrialist Thomas Edison, who frequently wintered in Fort Myers. The Lee Campus (now known as the Thomas Edison Campus) opened in 1965 on an 80-acre site with three buildings. The nursing program began on that campus with a $50,000 donation in 1968.

The name changed to Edison Community College in 1972, just after the first nursing classes began to graduate. Ten years later, in 1982, a branch campus of University of South Florida campus was dedicated. The college's arts hall, the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, opened its doors in 1986. This Hall became the prime location for performing arts in Lee County.

Construction on the Collier County Campus at Lely lasted from 1991–92, on a 50-acre site in Naples, FL. Soon after that, the Charlotte County Campus opened in 1997, on a 204-acre plot of land in Punta Gorda, FL. This is the largest campus to date. The college revised its mission by publishing a new strategic plan, The Decade of Promise, in 2002. The college again changed its name in 2004, to simply Edison College.

Crews change the Charlotte campus back entrance sign.

The college continued to expand through the 2000s with increased funding for the nursing program and the new Richard H. Rush Library on the Lee Campus.[3] 2008 saw a fourth name change to Edison State College, and a new torch logo with blue and yellow colors to reflect the college's new status as a baccalaureate-granting state college. Multiple new baccalaureate programs opened over the next decade, including Middle Grades Mathematics, Sciences, and Language Arts Education; Applied Science in Public Safety Management; Elementary Education; and Secondary Education Biology and Mathematics.[4]

The name, logo, and colors were changed for the fifth and final time to date in 2014. This name broke the ties to Thomas Edison, who was the college's former namesake. The new name, Florida SouthWestern State College, reflects the wide region that the college serves. One of the primary reasons for the change was to avoid confusion with Thomas Edison State College of New Jersey due to new online courses with a nationwide reach.[5][6]

Kenneth Walker resignation[edit]

In 2011, Edison's faculty senate approved a vote of no confidence in the college president and senior vice president, amid allegations of employment discrimination, inappropriately high salaries for key administrators, and problems with the accreditation of the nursing program.[7] A few weeks later, President Kenneth Walker, who had led the college for over twenty years, announced plans to resign.[8] Edison's governing District Board of Trustees ultimately fired Walker in January 2012.[9]

Accreditation probation[edit]

In June 2012, Edison's accrediting agency placed the college on probation. The agency cited several factors, including the institution's inability to demonstrate integrity; lack of full-time faculty; nursing students being misled about their program's accreditation; and substitution of electives for core classes, which allowed students to graduate without completing degree requirements.[10] Under new leadership, Edison saw its accreditation reaffirmed and its probation lifted in June 2013.[11]


Degree offerings include 19 associate's degrees, 10 bachelor's degrees, and 10 certificate programs, with emphasis on business, technology, health, and education programs.[12] The college also enrolls more than 3,500 dual enrollment students per year.[13] Non-credit continuing education courses are also offered.[14]

FSW is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.[15]


  • Enrollment – 15,800 (Fall 2013)
  • Full-time – 34%; part-time – 66%
  • 65% of students are 24 years old or younger, 35% of students are over the age of 24
  • Female – 60%; male – 40%
  • 58% White, 27% Hispanic/Latino, 12% African American, and 3% other minorities
  • Dual enrollment students represent 15% of total fall enrollment.[14]


Florida SouthWestern State College resumed its athletics program in 2015 after having been discontinued in 1997. The teams will be known once again as the Buccaneers. For the inaugural season, the school will field teams in softball, baseball, men's and women's basketball.[16] The teams participate in the Suncoast Conference of the Florida State College Activities Association within the National Junior College Athletic Association.

On November 29, 2016, the new on-campus Suncoast Credit Union Arena opened. With a seating capacity of 3,500, it will be home to the basketball and volleyball teams, as well as the new home of the City of Palms Classic high school basketball tournament.[17]


Former Edison State College sign at Thomas Edison Campus

The Thomas Edison campus (formerly the Lee Campus) is the primary campus, and is located on 140 acres (0.57 km2) between College Parkway and Cypress Lake Drive in south Lee county. The campus consists of 24 permanent buildings, including one- and two-story classroom buildings, a library, a bookstore, a cafeteria, a student center, and laboratories for science, computer science, nursing, health technologies, and college preparatory classes.[18] Florida SouthWestern Collegiate High School - Lee is located on this campus. The collegiate high school is a dual-enrollment based program allowing students to earn an associates degree at the same time as a high school diploma.[19]

The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, opened in 1986, is located on the Thomas Edison Campus and hosts plays, shows, and concerts. The Edison Pops Concert Series is held there annually.[20]

Also located on the Fort Myers, FL Edison campus, the Gallery of Fine Art was renamed the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, on June 4, 2004, celebrating a long time association with artist, Robert Rauschenberg.[47] The gallery has been host to many of the artist's exhibitions, since 1980.[48]

The Collier County campus is a 80-acre (320,000 m2) site off State Road 951 in east Naples. The Collier campus opened in 1992.

The Charlotte County campus is located on a wooded site on Airport Road in Punta Gorda. The Charlotte campus opened in 1997. It also has a collegiate high school, which was the first collegiate high school in Florida to accept 9th graders.[21]

The Hendry/Glades Center outreach program campus is located on Cowboy Way in LaBelle.[22]

Notable alumni[edit]

Alum Notability
Charles Ghigna Poet and children's author
Matt Hudson Member of the Florida House of Representatives[23]
Mike Scott Lee County, Florida sheriff[24][25]
Tina Wainscott Romance and suspense novelist
Fuzzy Zoeller Professional golfer, currently plays on the Champions Tour


  1. ^ a b c d "Quickfacts". fsw.edu. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  2. ^ "FSW Buccaneers". fsw.edu. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  3. ^ "Florida SouthWestern State College Richard H. Rush Library".: short background, exhibits
  4. ^ http://www.fsw.edu/about/chronology
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
  6. ^ http://www.nbc-2.com/story/24399496/florida-house-supports-edison-state-name-change
  7. ^ Leslie Williams Hale (April 5, 2011). "Edison faculty vote results: 84 percent no confidence in President Walker, Browder". Naples Daily News. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  8. ^ "Edison State College's Embattled President to Resign". The Chronicle of Higher Education. April 27, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  9. ^ Dave Breitenstein (January 24, 2012). "Edison trustees fire President Kenneth Walker". The News-Press. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  10. ^ Dave Breitenstein (June 21, 2012). "Edison State College placed on probation by accrediting agency". The News-Press. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  11. ^ Kristine Gill (June 20, 2013). "Edison State College's accreditation reaffirmed after probationary period". The Naples Daily News. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  12. ^ "Academics". edison.edu. 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  13. ^ "Dual Enrollment". edison.edu. 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-03-28. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Florida SouthWestern Quick Facts". fsw.edu. 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  15. ^ "Accreditation". fsw.edu. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  16. ^ http://www.news-press.com/story/sports/2015/07/29/florida-southwestern-state-college-athletic-programs-take-shape/30829261/
  17. ^ Dorsey, David (November 30, 2016). "FSW opens new arena with fanfare, basketball doubleheader". The News Press.
  18. ^ "Campus Maps". fsw.edu. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  19. ^ "About Collegiate High Schools". fsw.edu. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  20. ^ "Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall". fsw.edu. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  21. ^ "FSWCHS-Charlotte". fsw.edu. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  22. ^ "About Edison State College". edison.edu. Archived from the original on 2014-03-30. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  23. ^ http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4420&SessionId=64
  24. ^ Lee | Florida Sheriffs Association
  25. ^ Profiles | Fort Myers Newspaper | News, Business, Real Estate and Arts in Fort Myers FL | Florida

External links[edit]