Florida Poly celebrates in-demand STEM grads, departing president at 2024 commencement

May 05, 2024
Madison Yonash at Florida Polytechnic University 2024 commencement

Madison Yonash, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business analytics, was among more than 200 Florida Polytechnic University graduates who received their degrees on Sunday, May 5 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Florida. The STEM graduates were educated in disciplines intended to help fulfill Florida’s need for highly qualified high-tech professionals.

Florida Polytechnic University celebrated the conferral of more than 200 bachelor’s and master’s degrees at its commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 5, capping off years of intensive coursework and the attainment of a high-demand STEM degree.

The event, which took place at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, marked the University’s 10-year anniversary and the end of a strong academic year at Florida Poly, which saw many milestones and achievements. These included the groundbreaking of the Gary C. Wendt Engineering Building, the launch of bachelor’s degrees in civil and industrial engineering, continued outstanding rankings, the successful Excelerate 10-year celebration, and the selection of a new University president.

Joyselle Sarmiento was filled with excitement as she waited for the ceremony to begin.

“After this, I’m going to be out there and in the real world,” said Sarmiento, who received her bachelor’s degree in computer science with a concentration in game development and simulation. “It’s exciting knowing what could be out there for me, but I’m also a little nervous.”

As the first in her family to graduate from college in the United States, she was supported by a crew of joyful loved ones at the event.

“It’s important for all of us,” Sarmiento said.

The graduation ceremony was Dr. Randy K. Avent’s last as the University’s founding president. He was selected as this year’s commencement speaker and will step down from the position in July.

“Congratulations on making it through a tough curriculum that is ever-changing as the University matures. Truly, that’s what startups are all about. You make fast decisions, evaluate the results, and then you adapt,” Avent said. “As Florida Poly’s inaugural president, I’ve achieved dreams I never knew I had, and all of you have been part of that. Thank you for being part of my journey. And thank you for allowing me to be part of yours.”

Melina Ramos, who received a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, was the event’s student speaker. 

“I don’t think I speak for just myself when I say these last four years taught us a lot about ourselves, our goals, and our capabilities,” said Ramos, who is from Spring Hill, Florida. “As we forge ahead into our respective careers, let us remember the power of collaboration, seek out opportunities to grow, and continue to push ourselves outside the boundaries of what we believe is possible. We have the power to shape the world in ways that were once unimaginable.”

Dr. Randy K. Avent

Florida Polytechnic University President Randy K. Avent was the commencement speaker at the University’s graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 5 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Florida. Avent will step down from his position in July after 10 years as the University’s founding president.


Lydia Guzmán
Director of Communications