Florida Poly commemorates 10-year anniversary with dazzling celebration

Mar 24, 2024
Hundreds gathered to celebrate at the Excelerate gala.
Hundreds of Florida Polytechnic University supporters gathered at Excelerate on March 23, to celebrate the University’s first decade, the conclusion of its inaugural investment campaign, and 10 years of exceptional leadership by President Randy K. Avent.

LAKELAND, Fla. – Florida Polytechnic University, the state’s only all-STEM public institution, shone a spotlight on 10 years of pioneering innovation and educational excellence on March 23, when it hosted a grand gala to celebrate its remarkable achievements and promising path for the future.

Over 300 supporters, partners, and advocates of Florida Poly gathered at the state-of-the-art Barnett Applied Research Center for Excelerate, a formal event marking a triumphant three-fold celebration. The occasion honored the University’s successful first decade of operations, the culmination of its inaugural investment campaign, and 10 years of exemplary leadership under President Randy K. Avent, who will be stepping down this summer.    

During his remarks, Avent reflected on his early years with the University.

“I was named the University’s inaugural president in June of 2014, just in time to welcome our first students to campus that fall. The goal in those first five years was simple – to build a new university,” Avent said. “It meant building a faculty and staff body, building a curriculum, building a student body to meet the legislative mandates, putting all campus and student support operations in place, and building a differentiation strategy that would sustain the university as an economic engine of Florida.

“Tonight’s event is a bold indication of just how far we’ve come in our first 10 years.”

During the festivities, the Florida Poly Foundation presented the esteemed 2024 honorees of the #Changemaker Award. The recognition is given to individuals, companies, or entities for their contributions and significant impact to the University. This year, the award was bestowed upon two recipients: the Barnett family for their longstanding support and generosity to Florida Poly, and the Alexander family for their comprehensive engagement with the institution and their unwavering commitment to student success through the John R. Alexander Scholars Program. 

“As we gather in this distinguished setting, we are reminded of the profound impact that each one of you has had on this great University,” said Jack Harrell III, chair of Florida Poly’s Foundation. “Your generosity has enabled us to make meaningful strides toward our shared goals over this past 10 years, touching the lives of so many students along the way.”  

Guests also enjoyed a momentous video presentation showcasing the outstanding trajectory of Florida Poly over its first decade. From its inception to critical milestones, essential academic accreditations, state and national recognitions, to the exponential growth of its iconic campus, attendees were captivated by the University’s impressive journey thus far.

Following a delightful sit-down dinner, the lively celebration transformed into a vibrant dance floor, complete with a dynamic live band and accompanied by indulgent dessert bars offering an array of decadent treats. 


For the most recent University news, visit Florida Poly News.
About Florida Polytechnic University: Florida Polytechnic University is ranked the number one public college in the Southeast Region for three years in a row and a top 20 public engineering program without a Ph.D. in the nation. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and a member of the State University System of Florida. Florida Poly is the only state university dedicated exclusively to STEM and offers ABET-accredited degrees. Florida Poly is a powerful economic engine within the state of Florida, blending applied research with industry partnerships to give students an academically rigorous education with real-world relevance. Florida Poly’s iconic Innovation, Science, and Technology Building, designed by world-renowned architect Dr. Santiago Calatrava, has won more than 20 global awards and was named one of the 16 most breathtaking buildings in the world. Connect with Florida Poly.


Lydia Guzmán
Director of Communications
863-874-8557 (office)
863-327-9762 (cell)