In his last year as Florida Polytechnic University president, Dr. Randy K. Avent was recognized once again for his exceptional leadership by statewide magazine Florida Trend.
It’s the fifth consecutive year Avent makes the publication’s prominent Florida 500 list, which celebrates the state’s most influential business leaders across major industries.
“Being selected alongside so many outstanding leaders is such a great honor and I’m privileged to have been in their company for the past years,” Avent said. “As the University wraps up its first decade educating high-skill STEM professionals, we know there’s much more work to be done, but we remain proud to have built a nationally ranked university from the ground up.”
From the beginning, Avent’s goal as Florida Poly’s founding president has centered on turning the University into a leading STEM institution, known for its excellent engineering and applied sciences education, and for its high-demand, low-supply graduates. The University fulfilled key legislative mandates under his leadership and accomplished critical accreditations.
Avent’s work has also focused on growing Florida Poly and cementing it as an industry magnet for the region. He secured a public-private partnership with Fortune 500 company IFF to become Florida Poly’s first on-campus partner, building its Global Citrus Innovation Center just steps from the iconic Innovation, Science, and Technology building. This achievement marked the beginning of a research park he envisions anchored by the University.
Florida Poly is poised for further growth. A third student residence hall will be ready by 2024 and the Gary C. Wendt Engineering Building will begin construction next spring. These buildings will be in addition to the Barnett Applied Research Center, a state-of-the-art facility inaugurated last year, doubling the institution’s research capabilities. The University is growing its academic offerings as well, by adding two new degrees this year – civil engineering and industrial engineering.
The Florida 500 inclusion is the latest of several important recognitions the University has received this year. These include U.S. News & World Report rankings as a top 20 public engineering program without a Ph.D. in the country, and the number one public college in the Southeast for three years in a row.