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Florida Polytechnic University

Coordinates: 28°08′41.2″N 81°51′03.1″W / 28.144778°N 81.850861°W / 28.144778; -81.850861{{#coordinates:28|08|41.2|N|81|51|03.1|W|region:US_type:edu |primary |name= }}

Florida Polytechnic University
Florida, Polytechnic, & University on three lines, center aligned and in purple. Florida & Polytechnic are separated by a horizontal bar (the width of "Polytechnic"), written in bold, and a slightly larger font size than "University".
Other name
Florida Poly
Established April 20, 2012 (2012-04-20)[1]
(3 years, 339 days ago)
Type Public state university
Chairman R. Mark Bostick
President Randy K. Avent
Provost Ghazi Darkazalli
Academic staff
59 [2]
Administrative staff
105 [3]
Students 554 (Fall 2014) [4]
Location Lakeland, Florida, United States
Campus Suburban
Colors     Royal Purple
Nickname Template:If empty
Mascot Phoenix
Affiliations State University System of Florida

Florida Polytechnic University (Florida Poly) is a public university in Lakeland, Florida, United States whose stated mission is to prepare 21st century learners for careers in advanced fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through interdisciplinary teaching, leading-edge research, and collaborative local, regional and global partnerships.[5] Florida Poly is the newest member institution of the State University System of Florida, and is the state's only public polytechnic university.

In 2012, the Florida State Legislature created the school, the state's 12th public university, while dissolving the University of South Florida Polytechnic campus. Florida Poly was created with an entrepreneurial focus, concentrating on the applied, not theoretical, side of the core STEM disciplines.[6]

In a letter that accompanied the signed legislation (SB 1994[7]) creating Florida Poly, Governor Rick Scott noted that Florida Poly, with its strong focus on STEM programs, will be a key component of the State University System of Florida meeting the goals outlined in its 2012-2015 Strategic Plan. The strategic plan requires the State University System to increase STEM degree production from 9,605 to 22,500 per year by 2025.[8]

Florida Poly resides on a new 170-acre[9] campus designed by architect Dr. Santiago Calatrava that features a 160,000-square-foot Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building. The IST Building is home to the University’s Supercomputer,[10] 3-D printing lab and digital library. Florida Poly is the first university whose main library is totally digital.[11]

Florida Poly opened for classes on August 25, 2014 with an inaugural class of 554 students.[12]

The university submitted its initial application for regional accreditation in December 2014.[5] Regional accrediting agencies do not permit institutions to make predictions about accreditation dates, but Florida Statutes do require Florida Poly to reach accreditation by December 31, 2016.[8]


File:The east side of the ISTC Building at Florida Polytechnic University on February 4th 2014 2014-04-18 14-04.JPG
The east side of the IST Building at Florida Polytechnic University on February 4th 2014

The University of South Florida opened its satellite campus in Lakeland in 1988. University of South Florida Polytechnic initially shared its grounds with the Lakeland campus of Polk Community College (now Polk State College). By the 2000s it had grown to enroll under 2,000 students, and the local business owners secured state funding for a separate campus, eventually choosing a site near Interstate 4. In 2009 Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was selected to design the campus' first building.[13]

Meanwhile, the institution's backers, most prominently Florida State Senator JD Alexander, initiated a secret campaign to break USF Polytechnic away from USF and form an independent university. In 2011, Alexander forced a 2012-13 state budget that took from USF their $33 million budget for the move.[14][15] Like the acquisition of the new campus, the proposed split was controversial in some quarters, as it came during a tight budget year and was unpopular with USF students and faculty.[16] In response to Alexander's proposal, the Florida Board of Governors approved a multi-year plan to allow Florida Polytechnic to gain independence gradually once it met certain criteria, including accreditation, the construction of residence halls, and the development of a STEM curriculum.[17] Displeased with the Board's compromise, Alexander introduced a new budget for the state universities that included immediate independence from USF Polytechnic, effectively bypassing the Board of Governors.[18] On April 20, 2012, Governor Rick Scott signed into law Alexander's budget for the State University System, including the provision that created Florida Polytechnic University as an independent institution, and closed down USF Polytechnic. The law took effect on July 1, 2012.[19][20]


The university houses two colleges that offer six baccalaureate programs, two master's programs and 19 areas of concentration.[21] Curriculums and classroom facilities are designed to facilitate hands-on, applied learning, and degree programs are focused on preparing students for STEM-related careers.[22]

Colleges and Majors

  • College of Innovation and Technology
    • Master of Science in Innovation & Technology
    • Bachelor of Science in Advanced Technology, specialties include:
      • Big Data Analytics
      • Cloud Virtualization
      • Health Informatics
    • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science & Information Technology, specialties include:
      • Cyber Gaming
      • Information Assurance & Cyber Security
    • Bachelor of Science in Science & Technology Management, specialties include:
      • Logistics
      • Material & Supply Chain
  • College of Engineering
    • Master of Science in Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, specialties include:
      • Digital Logic Design
      • Embedded System Design
      • Machine Intelligence
    • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, specialties include:
      • Control Systems
      • Digital & Hybrid Systems
      • Electrodynamics
      • Magnetics
      • Semiconductors
    • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, specialties include:
      • Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing
      • Motion Intelligence
      • Multifunctional Materials
      • Nanotechnology


The Inaugural Class of students at Florida Poly had an average incoming GPA of 3.9 and test scores of 1750 on the SAT and 25 on the ACT.[23]

Industry Partnerships

Florida Poly collaborates with more than 80 high-tech corporate, government and non-government organizations that provide guidance on curriculum development, assist with research and offer internship opportunities that stress real-world experience.[24] Industry partners include Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Mosaic, Cisco and Harris Corporation.[25]


The Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research (FIPR) Institute is a Florida Poly research institution. The FIPR institute supports phosphate-related studies to improve the environment, protect public health and increase mining and processing efficiency. FIPR Institute’s staff biologists, engineers and chemists also conduct in-house research, and the institute supports some non-phosphate topics such as energy and the mining and processing of other minerals.[26]


Florida Poly’s 170-acre campus includes the Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building, a residence hall, admissions center, campus control center and Wellness Center. The Wellness Center includes a bookstore, health clinic, fitness room, mail center, dining hall and Starbucks Coffee.[27]

IST Building

The 162,000-square-foot IST Building is the University’s main facility. It houses 26 classrooms, 11 innovation laboratories, auditoriums and other meeting rooms.[28] The building is also home to the school’s digital library.

Designed by Spanish architect Dr. Santiago Calatrava, the building includes 94 robotic louvers on the roof that move to accommodate changing sunlight patterns.[29][30]

Digital Library

Florida Poly’s IST Building includes a bookless library where students can access more than 135,000 digital titles on their choice of reader, tablet or laptop.[31][32] Students still have access to librarians and a reference desk to receive tutoring, resources and training to manage digital materials.[33] Hard copy books can be requested on loan from libraries at Florida's 11 other public universities.

Supercomputer and Student Data Center Lab

Florida Poly’s Supercomputer is a high-performance, high-speed and high-capacity IBM computer that is six feet tall and covers the length of the room that it occupies in the IST Building. The Lab allows for high-speed computing, information mapping, academic initiative computing,|data digestion and interactive visualization interfaces.[10]

Rapid Application Development (RAD) Makerspace Lab

The RAD Makerspace Lab is an interdisciplinary environment with 55 3-D printers, digital scanners, AutoCAD software and RAD technology for software development. This Lab includes core engineering, computer engineering, and computer science fields of study and advanced prototyping and adaptive manufacturing technology and techniques.[34]


  1. ^ "Florida Polytechnic University - SUSF". State University System of Florida. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Florida Polytechnic University: Frequently Asked Questions". Florida Polytechnic University. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Florida Polytechnic University". i4 Business. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "SB 1994: Postsecondary Education". The Florida Senate. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Letter by Governor Rick Scott to Ken Detzner, Secretary of State". The Florida Office of the Governor. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Madsen, Deane. "Santiago Calatrava’s Florida Polytechnic University Opens Tomorrow". Architect, the Magazine of The American Institute of Architects. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Meyer, Leila. "Florida Polytechnic U Develops New Supercomputing Center". Campus Technology. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Scott, Simon. "Florida Polytechnic Library Goes Book-Free". NPR. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  12. ^ Toothman, Mary. "Students Settle Into College Life as Classes Begin at Florida Polytechnic University". The Ledger. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  13. ^ Lawrence Biemiller (June 16, 2009). "Calatrava Will Design First Building for U. of South Florida Polytechnic’s New Campus". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  14. ^ Pransky, Noah. "USF Budget Cuts". 10 News fighting to #SaveUSF. 10 News Tampa. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  15. ^ Sanders, Katie. "PolitiFact Florida: Understanding the USF budget battle". Tampa Bay Tribune. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  16. ^ "JD Alexander is the face of what's wrong with Florida" Tampa Bay Times, March 4, 2012
  17. ^ "USF-Poly gets conditional permission to break from USF, but won't happen immediately". WTSP. 2011-11-10. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  18. ^ "JD Alexander is the face of what's wrong with Florida". Tampa Bay Times. 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  19. ^ "Scott Signs Bill to Establish Florida Poly as State's 12th University". The Ledger. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  20. ^ "Scott signs law creating independent Florida Polytechnic in Polk Co.". Bay News 9. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  21. ^ Mitchell, Tia. "Florida Polytechnic survives controversy to enroll its first STEM students". Miami Herald. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  22. ^ Sarmah, Satta. "Should Universities Be Built in Silicon Valley's Image?". Fast Company. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  23. ^ "Did U Know?". Florida State University System. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  24. ^ "Florida Poly's 1st President: Front and Center". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  25. ^ "Industry Partners". Florida Polytechnic University. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute". Florida Polytechnic University. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  27. ^ Reaves, Shayla. "Florida Polytechnic University welcomes inaugural class". MyFox Tampa Bay. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  28. ^ Kyle, Hightower. "Lofty goals for new Florida Polytechnic University". The Washington Times. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  29. ^ Chino, Mike. "Santiago Calatrava's Spectacular New Building is a Living, Moving Creature From Out of This World". Inhabitat. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  30. ^ "What's That Big White Dome on I-4?". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  31. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn. "Florida Polytechnic University opens with a bookless library". LA Times. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  32. ^ "High-tech Florida Polytechnic University opens BOOKLESS library...but students can access over 135,000 ebooks on electronic devices". Daily Mail. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  33. ^ Stein, Letitia. "Library without books debuts at Florida’s newest college". Reuters. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  34. ^ "MakerBot and Florida Polytechnic University Partner to Bring MakerBot 3D Printing to the Florida Poly RAD Makerspace". Marketwatch. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 

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