Florida Polytechnic University was established in 2012 and opened its doors in 2014 as the only member of the State University System of Florida dedicated exclusively to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). With an enrollment of around 1,400, Florida Poly offers a unique environment for students where they work closely with faculty and can take advantage of a hands-on approach to learning.
Milestones during these first few years of the University’s existence included the construction of the Innovation, Science, and Technology (IST) Building, the centerpiece of Florida Poly’s campus in Lakeland. The 162,000-square-foot, white-domed building is a moveable and functional work of art, with a louvered roof system that moves throughout the day providing passive lighting inside the second-floor atrium. The oval-shaped structure is ringed by curved metal pergolas that shade its outer terrace and walkways. The building has won global awards and was recently named one of the most breathtaking buildings in the world.
President Randy K. Avent
Another major milestone was obtaining regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) ahead of schedule in July 2017. Less than a year later, Florida Poly graduated its first four-year class with over 200 students receiving degrees. The University began by offering six undergraduate degrees along with two graduate degrees, all focused on high-tech disciplines. With small class sizes and a true project-based curriculum, Florida Poly is positioned to provide industry-aligned programs in fast-growing areas like autonomous vehicles, machine intelligence, nanotechnology, logistics, and supply chain management and renewable energy.
FLORIDA POLY 2.0
With the creation, start-up, and graduation of its first-class complete, Florida Poly is now embarking on the next pivotal chapter of its existence. Priorities include the creation of three new degrees, as well as increasing our programs and concentrations. This will allow Florida Poly to continue to build a prominent presence with high-paying industries in the region.
Florida Poly 2.0 also includes the construction of another iconic building on its campus – the Applied Research Center – which will house faculty research, laboratories, student design spaces, and faculty offices. In all, this new building will create 150 offices, 21 research laboratories, and seven teaching laboratories.
Creating strong partnerships with companies throughout Florida is another key to providing industry-aligned majors and fueling the state’s economy.
That’s why the University is constantly adding to the many internships already available to students so they can truly take part in a world-class STEM education.
The growth around the Florida Poly campus is key in further developing the University and bringing the Florida Poly 2.0 vision to life. Florida Poly’s long-term success grows exponentially when supported by an adjacent research park which will serve as a magnet for the industry. Today’s problems are complex and multi-dimensional, and economies grow most significantly when they bring government, industry, and academia together to commercialize innovation.
This research park will be the catalyst for bringing financial and facility capital to the area. There will be academic buildings in the park and industry partners on campus. The park will be a live-work-play environment with apartments and homes, office buildings that house high-tech companies, a town center with restaurants and shops, schools and golf courses and hiking trails. It will be a place of creative collisions, where companies come to the park to gain access to our high-quality students and talented faculty.
Florida Poly also looks forward to the completion of SunTrax, a largescale, cutting-edge facility dedicated to the research, development, and testing of emerging transportation technologies in safe and controlled environments.
SunTrax is a long-term partnership between Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise and Florida Poly and includes a 2.25-mile oval track on a 400-acre site near Florida Poly’s campus. This adds to Florida Poly’s focus on the rapidly evolving field of autonomous and connected vehicles. Its place as a leader in this area was demonstrated at the national level when Randy K. Avent, Florida Poly’s president, testified before a Senate committee on autonomous vehicles in 2018.
Between the foundation provided by Florida Poly 1.0 and the growth outlined in Florida Poly 2.0, Florida Polytechnic University has positioned itself to provide a world-class STEM education in a way that not only prepares students to productively enter the workforce, but to provide them with lifetime employable skills aimed at having an immeasurable impact on local and state economies.