More than 200 Florida Polytechnic University undergraduate and graduate students will be receiving degrees, as Florida’s newest public university graduates its inaugural class.
Florida Poly’s Spring 2018 Commencement will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4 at the RP Funding Center (Youkey Theater), located at 701 W Lime St., Lakeland.
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.
“These students believed in Florida Poly’s mission before the doors even opened,” said Florida Poly President, Dr. Randy K. Avent. “They have come a long way since, and the university has grown with them. We are proud of their journey with Florida Poly and know they’re prepared to make an impact on the world.”
The commencement speaker will be Dr. Jeffrey Wadsworth, who will be awarded anhonorary degree by Avent.
Wadsworth recently retired as president and CEO of Battelle Memorial Institute, the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization, executing about $6 billion of work annually and employing about 22,500 people. He has previously overseen the management or co-management of seven national laboratories of the U.S. Departments of Energy and Homeland Security.
The ceremony will also feature an address by the State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser and student speaker Chris Dowdy. Dowdy, who is from Lakeland, is graduating summa cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Dowdy says he’s humbled to be representing his class and the university at commencement and says he’s thankful for the many opportunities made available to him.
“Florida Poly has given me tremendous opportunities,” said Dowdy. “From the faculty to staff and administration, I’m excited about honoring everyone who made it all possible. There’s no doubt the hands-on experience we have gained at Florida Poly has positioned us well to be future leaders in our fields.”