Florida's 12th university opens to the public Saturday with the grand opening of Florida Polytechnic U. More than 550 students are expected for the first day of class on August 25th. The Lakeland campus is the state's first public university devoted to STEM - science, technology and mathematics.
In-state undergraduate students who enroll at the university will get free tuition. Florida Poly freshmen will receive full in-state tuition for three years, and then more than half tuition for the fourth year of enrollment. Grad students will get about 80 percent of their tuition and fees paid. The University's Foundation board will have primary responsibility in raising the more than $8 million needed for the scholarships.
The University's leaders say that free tuition will help draw competitive students to a brand new school whose accreditation is still in the works.
On Saturday, state and university leaders will gather for a special LAUNCH Ceremony to celebrate the completion of the iconic Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building and the official opening of Florida Polytechnic.
The ceremony will take place outdoors on the south side of the IST Building. Guests scheduled to speak include President Dr. Randy K. Avent, Chief Operating Officer Ava L. Parker and Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees Chair Robert H. Gidel. IST Building architect Dr. Santiago Calatrava. State government and education leaders including Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, Representative Seth McKeel, Governor Wendy Link of the State University System Board of Governors and former Florida Senator J.D. Alexander.
For details, visit http://floridapolytechnic.org/LAUNCH.
WUSF's Steve Newborn takes us on a tour of their signature new building along Interstate 4 with school spokeswoman Crystal Lauderdale. She lauds the work of the building's architect, Spaniard Santiago Calatrava.