LAKELAND, Fla. -

The Florida Polytechnic University officially opened and welcomed their inaugural class Saturday.

Florida Polytechnic leaders, Gov. Rick Scott, and more than 1,000 supporters and new students gathered to experience the state-of-the art University for the first time. 

“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,” said Florida Polytechnic President Dr. Randy K. Avent. “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.”

University officials said they are dedicated exclusively to science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM  studies that emphasize real world problem solving.

Leaders from across the state were on-hand to celebrate the new University, including Scott, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, Rep. Seth McKeel, Gov. Wendy Link of the Florida Board of Governors and former Florida Sen. J.D. Alexander.

“I would like to congratulate Florida Polytechnic University on becoming Florida’s 12th public university. Florida Polytechnic University’s strong focus on STEM education and its dedication to helping students graduate with the skills they will need to get a great job will play a key role in creating jobs for the next generation in Florida. A highly skilled workforce will ensure that companies in Florida will be able to grow,” said Scott.

A moveable and functional work of art, the 162,000-square-foot, white domed IST Building features a distinctive louvered roof system that adjusts with the sun’s angle and is surrounded by a ring of curved metal pergolas that shade its outer terrace and walkways. 

It houses classrooms, auditoriums, administrative offices, common areas and a number of laboratories including a supercomputer and a 3D printing lab.