Florida Polytechnic University is a nationally ranked university. In its 2022 Best Colleges list, U.S. News and World Report ranked Florida Poly the #1 public college in the south and #26 among public engineering programs without a Ph.D.

The nation’s leading institution of change, Florida Poly is engineered from the ground up to push the boundaries of education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). With more than 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students, it offers more than 31 programs of study. The University is the only state university in Florida dedicated exclusively to STEM education.

Students are taught by top faculty, some of whom have earned spots on Stanford University’s list of the World’s Top 2% of scientists for leading-edge research in nanomedicine, energy systems, and rare earth element recovery.

With STEM job growth estimated at approximately 25% over the next two years due to an underdeveloped pipeline of high-tech professionals, Florida Poly is providing the kind of graduates Florida needs to impact the global innovation marketplace. Engaging corporations in support for research programs, interaction with students and faculty, and participation in a range of university-wide opportunities exemplifies the convergence of industry and academia. While protecting its intellectual vitality and integrity, Florida Poly seeks to maximize opportunities for partnership and collaboration with industry.

Dr. Randy K. Avent
Florida Polytechnic University 

Dr. Randy K. Avent is the founding president of Florida Polytechnic University, the newest of the state’s 12 public universities and the only polytechnic university in the State University System of Florida.

As Florida Polytechnic University’s inaugural president, Dr. Avent is responsible for the development and operation of the university and is committed to strategically developing Florida Poly as a research and jobs university, an agent for growth and a beacon for the economy.

His career exemplifies the qualities of innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship the university seeks to instill in students. An accomplished academician, senior administrator and research scientist, Dr. Avent has an extensive background teaching and directing research at higher-education institutions dedicated to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

At Florida Polytechnic, Dr. Avent focused on the core STEM disciplines of engineering, mathematical and physical sciences, which are considered key to economic growth and prosperity for Florida and the nation as a whole. He created a strategic plan that addressed the four largest pressures on higher education in Florida – degree alignment, student success, economic development and affordability – and helped open the university in under two years by creatively building the campus using combinations of state funding, private investments and Public-Private Partnerships (P3s).

He formed over 200 partnerships with industry and is working with a local developer to create a 4,500 acre “live-work-play” research park that brings together industry, government and academia. Under Dr. Avent’s leadership, the university received both SACSCOC and ABET accreditation in under five years and has built relationships with Fulbright, Killam and other international partners in India and Brazil.

Dr. Avent has a broad range of interests and has conducted research in numerous areas, including environmental studies, neurophysiology and defense. The majority of his work has centered on machine learning, signal processing and dynamic probabilistic systems analysis. He has led several national panels in the areas of computer science, cognitive technology and signal processing, and he has served on National Academy of Engineering studies. He is an IEEE fellow and was named to Florida’s 500 Most Influential Business Leaders twice as well as the Tampa Bay Business Journal People to Watch list.

He has a Ph.D. in biomedical mathematics and engineering from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has two master’s degrees, one in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University and the other in biomedical mathematics and engineering from the University of North Carolina. His bachelor’s degree is in zoology from the University of North Carolina. Dr. Avent is also a 2005 graduate of the Greater Boston Executive Program at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.