Dr. Randy K. Avent is the founding president of Florida Polytechnic University, the newest of the state’s 12 public universities and the only one dedicated exclusively to STEM. As Florida Poly’s inaugural president, Avent is responsible for the development and operation of the university and is committed to strategically developing Florida Poly as a research and jobs university, an agent for growth and a beacon for the economy. His career exemplifies the qualities of innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship the university seeks to instill in students. An accomplished academician, senior administrator and research scientist, Avent has an extensive background teaching and directing research at higher-education institutions dedicated to STEM.
It’s not every day you get to build a university from scratch. When I came to Florida Polytechnic University in 2014, we had yet to open our doors to students. In fact, we were just putting the finishing touches on the Innovation, Science and Technology Building – the iconic structure that anchors our Lakeland campus just off of I-4.
We’ve come a long way in four years. Between obtaining regional accreditation to graduating our first four-year class, Florida Poly is well positioned to become a premier STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) university known for producing highly desirable graduates and new technology solutions.
As the only member of the State University System of Florida dedicated exclusively to STEM, we’re committed to growing the state’s economy by not only educating skilled engineers but also by creating a system by which they choose to remain in the state following graduation.
Our mission is to serve students and industry through excellence in education, discovery, and application of engineering and applied sciences. We want each and every student who passes through our doors to take part in a transformative educational experience.
Bringing together academia, industry and government is a recipe for meaningful and long-term economic growth – not just for Polk County but for the region, state and beyond. In Florida Poly 2.0, a part of our vision is to be a catalyst in the creation of a research park adjacent to campus. This park will create a “live-work-play” environment incorporating academic buildings, and research partnerships with high-tech companies, a town center, restaurants, shopping and more.
This is such an exciting time in our history. It’s critical we keep this momentum going and focus our efforts on producing the most talented and successful STEM minds in the state, the nation, and the world. We want Florida Poly to be a top destination for both prospective students as well as industry dependent upon the high-tech skills we provide.
Florida Polytechnic University