From dream to reality: Florida Poly awards degrees to 220 future STEM industry leaders

2018 Florida Poly Commencement
220 Florida Polytechnic University students graduated on May 4, most of whom were a part of university’s inaugural class.

Full of excitement and pride, 220 Florida Polytechnic University students graduated May 4, most of whom were a part of university’s inaugural class. The spring 2018 commencement ceremony was held at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

“Graduates, you are so special – not just because of your vision and pioneering spirit, but also because of the unique opportunities you’ve had as members of Florida Poly’s first group of students,” said university President, Dr. Randy K. Avent. “I know you won’t stop after this because you also have the patience, drive and determination to reach for even greater achievements.”

The commencement speaker was Dr. Jeffrey Wadsworth, who was awarded an honorary degree by Avent.

Wadsworth encouraged students to never give up trying to understand a challenge and to base their careers in what makes them happy to go to work every morning.

“Do something that matters and do it with passion. Your sources of pride will not be your acquisitions, nor your recognitions, but rather the lives you’ve touched and the differences you’ve made,” said Wadsworth, who recently retired as president and CEO of Battelle Memorial Institute, the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization.

“I hope those of you who are graduating take with you the vision that created Florida Polytechnic University and now contribute to creating the workforce of the future,” he added.

The ceremony also featured an address by the State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser and student speaker Chris Dowdy, a mechanical engineering major from Lakeland, who graduated summa cum laude.

“As we transition from students to alumni, we will meet the world’s unforeseen challenges head on and emerge as better people for it,” said Dowdy, who has accepted a position as a project engineer with the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. “I believe Florida Poly is rising and I am beyond grateful to be part of it.”

Established in 2012 as an innovative university dedicated entirely to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), Florida Poly is focused on graduating students who are lifetime employable and ready to be the leaders of high-tech industries. Classes began in fall 2014 with hundreds of students taking a chance on a brand new institution with a hands-on approach to teaching, and a learning environment that encourages them to think big and challenge the status quo.

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Lydia Guzman
Assistant Director of Communications
863-327-9762