Florida has just opened the doors to its tech-focused university, Florida Polytechnic University, with an inauguration ceremony this past weekend. Attended by over 1,000 people, in addition to leaders from the state’s tech community and Governor Rick Scott, the event included a philanthropic gala and a pyrotechnics display to introduce the world to FPU’s and its high tech facilities, including their 3D printer-equipped Rapid Application Development (RAD) Makerspace Lab.
Discussing the university’s Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building, FPU’s first president, Dr. Randy K. Avent, said, “I’m grateful to all of the special guests and supporters who have joined us to celebrate the launch of Florida’s next great university. What’s truly remarkable about Florida Polytechnic is that every single component of it, including the cutting-edge IST Building, has been designed around our mission – to prepare students to become innovative problem solvers and high-tech professionals.”
Designed by Dr. Santiago Calatrava, the IST building itself is a unique piece of architecture, as a moveable, 162,000-square-foot building with a specially designed roof system that adjusts to the sun’s angle. The building is home to the school’s classrooms, auditoriums, offices, common areas, and a number of high-tech labs. At the IST, one can find FPU’s Supercomputer and Student Data Center, as well as the Visualization and Technology Collaboration (VTC) Lab and the school’s RAD Makerspace.
The RAD lab will act as a MakerBot Innovation Center, made up of over 55 MakerBot 3D printers and scanners. The school’s Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Tom Hull, said of the facility, “Having a RAD Makerspace on campus is providing the students, who will shape the future, with the technology they need to succeed today. 3D printing has many possible applications in various fields, and our RAD Makerspace will inspire students as they explore, discover, innovate and create. Florida Poly encourages research applicable to the real world, and 3D printing is at the center of the product iteration and technological innovation process. We are hoping that students will be attracted to Florida Poly in part because of our RAD Makerspace along with our modern, integrated curriculum.”
FPU will focus entirely on STEM education, with a specific emphasis on applied learning, business leadership, applied research, and problem solving. Offering six undergraduate degree programs, 19 majors, and two masters degree programs in the College of Engineering and the College of Innovation and Technology, the university will begin next week with a class of 500 students. If you’re interested in attending, visiting, or just seeing a unique/funny website, check out FPU here.