Florida Poly president honored as top business leader on prestigious statewide list

Oct 25, 2023
Dr. Randy Avent speaks at an event

Florida Polytechnic University President Randy K. Avent was selected to the prominent Florida 500 list for the fifth year in a row. The statewide list recognizes the most influential business leaders across Florida.

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 is the fifth consecutive year Avent makes the publication’s prominent Florida 500 list, which celebrates the state’s most influential business leaders and executives across major industries.

“Being selected alongside so many outstanding leaders in Florida is such a great honor and I ‘m privileged to have been in their company for the past several years,” Avent said. “Florida Poly’s reputation as a premier STEM university keeps rising, and this recognition reflects that continued success.

“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 STEM university from the ground up. Today, our future is brighter than ever.” 

From the beginning, Avent’s goal as Florida Poly’s founding president has centered on turning the University into a leading core STEM institution, known for its excellent engineering and applied sciences education, as well as 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 high-tech partner, building its Global Citrus Innovation Center just steps from the iconic Innovation, Science, and Technology building. This achievement marked the beginning of a robust research park he envisions will be anchored by the University. 

Florida Poly is also poised for further growth. A third student residence hall will be ready by fall 2024 and the Gary C. Wendt Engineering Building will begin construction next spring. These new buildings will be in addition to the 90,000 square-foot 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. 

Avent just began his 10th and last academic year as founding president of Florida Poly, as he’ll be retiring in the summer of 2024.

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. 

The Florida 500 list of most influential leaders spans across more than 60 business categories, including education, agriculture, hospitality, and law. Final determinations were made by the publication’s editorial department.


Lydia Guzmán
Director of Communications