Randy K. Avent
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, 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, Avent has an extensive background teaching and directing research at higher-education institutions dedicated to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
At Florida Polytechnic, 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 Avent’s leadership, the university received both SACSCOC and ABET accreditation in under five years and have built relationships with Fulbright, Killam and other international partners in India and Brazil.