President Avent named Florida Poly’s 2024 commencement speaker

Apr 22, 2024
Dr. Randy Avent

Dr. Randy K. Avent, president of Florida Polytechnic University, has been named the institution’s 2024 commencement speaker. The event will be on Sunday, May 5 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. 

Florida Polytechnic University has announced that its founding president, Dr. Randy K. Avent, will be its 2024 commencement speaker. This year’s commencement comes as the University marks its 10th anniversary.

Avent was appointed to his position as the institution’s leader in June of 2014, just two months before the campus opened its doors for its first fall semester. He plans to step down from his leadership position at the end of this spring semester.

“I feel very privileged to be part of establishing this wonderful University and working alongside an outstanding team of professionals to shape and grow Florida Poly into a well-respected provider of engineering education,” Avent said. “We’ve come a long way since those early days, but the promise Florida Poly holds is stronger today than it has ever been.”

Upon his departure from Florida Poly, Avent will begin working on a Fulbright-funded research endeavor at the University of Barcelona in Spain. He is the recipient of the 2024-2025 Fulbright-Schuman Innovation Award, a prestigious recognition presented annually to one American scholar to support research at the intersection of policy and technology. 

“I am excited to dive back into research and make contributions to the scientific and economic communities through my work,” he said. 

Avent is an accomplished academician, senior administrator, and research scientist with an extensive background in teaching and directing research at higher-education institutions dedicated to STEM.

Prior to joining Florida Poly, Avent was associate vice chancellor of research and a professor of computer science at North Carolina State University. He also was chief scientist in the Defense Department’s Office of Basic Research, where he oversaw science programs, developed strategic plans for basic research investments, and led a national “Data-to-Decisions” program on large-scale analytics for massive data sets.

From 1986-2006, Avent held a variety of positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, where he served as the associate chief technology officer, led three different research groups, and conducted research in diverse technology areas.

He holds a Ph.D. in biomedical mathematics and engineering from the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill; a master’s degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University; a master’s in biomedical mathematics and engineering from UNC; and a bachelor’s degree in zoology from UNC.

Florida Poly’s 2024 Commencement Ceremony will be on Sunday, May 5, at 2 p.m. The event will take place at the RP Funding Center, George Jenkins Arena, 701 W Lime St. in Lakeland. 


Lydia Guzmán
Director of Communications