Florida Institute of Technology (commonly called "Florida Tech" or "FIT") is a national, private, not-for-profit, technological, coeducational, doctoral-granting, research-intensive university. It is primarily residential, though it offers select degrees online and at off-campus learning locations throughout Florida, as well as in Alabama, Maryland, New Jersey, Missouri and Virginia.
The university consists of five colleges:
Florida Tech offers more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs, as well as associate and certificate programs.
Florida Tech is a member of NCAA Division II. It is home to 22 intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports teams, which play as the Florida Tech Panthers. 17 teams participate in the Sunshine State Conference. Florida Tech’s football team competes in the Gulf South Conference. Tickets are available through FloridaTechSports.com.
More than 60,000 students from more than 120 countries have earned degrees from Florida Tech. Notable alumni include five Space Shuttle astronauts, the first female four-star general in U.S. military history, a 1984 Olympic gold medalist in rowing, a two-time major league World Series-winning pitcher, a National Teacher of the Year, and a member of the LPGA tour.
Three Florida Tech faculty members have been to space:
Buzz Aldrin, Sc.D. (Gemini 12, Apollo 11)
Research Professor of Aeronautics
Samuel Durrance, Ph.D. (STS-35/Astro-1, STS-67/Astro-2)
Professor of Physics and Space Sciences
Winston Scott, M.S. (STS-72, STS-87)
Professor of Jazz Studies
Five of Florida Tech’s alumni have served as Space Shuttle astronauts:
Sunita Williams (STS-116, STS-117)
M.S., Engineering Management, 1995
Joan Higginbotham (STS-116)
M.S., Management, 1992
M.S., Space Systems, 1996
Kathryn Hire (STS-90)
M.S., Space Technology, 1991
George Zamka (STS-120)
M.S., Engineering Management, 1997
Frederick Sturckow (STS-88, STS-105, STS-117, STS-128)
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2000
Florida Tech is one of only 42 universities to be selected as a cooperating educational institution by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Two exceptionally qualified undergraduate Florida Tech students are selected annually to receive a prestigious Astronaut Scholarship of $10,000.
See Board of Trustees.
The 15-acre public Botanical Garden, as featured in the AAA Florida Tour Guide, winds through the heart of campus. Affectionately nicknamed "The Jungle," it contains more than 200 palms, bamboos and other rare and common specimens. The Botanical Garden is also home to Melbourne’s original “little red schoolhouse.” A self-guided walking tour is available and certain garden spaces may be booked for wedding ceremonies.
The Buzz Aldrin Space Institute (BASI) was established at Florida Tech on Aug. 25, 2017. BASI conducts scientific research and development in support of an eventual human settlement on Mars.
Located on 130 subtropical acres in the City of Melbourne on Florida's "Space Coast," Florida Tech’s campus includes various academic, athletic, residential, dining, recreational, performance, administrative and multi-use facilities. It is an Arbor Day Foundation designated "Tree Campus USA."
The Florida Tech campus sits about two miles from downtown Melbourne, two miles from Orlando-Melbourne International Airport, six miles from the nearest beach, 45 miles to NASA—Kennedy Space Center, and 75 miles to the Orlando area. Melbourne has the 5th most concentrated high-tech workforce in the United States.
The Florida Tech Challenge Course is a publicly owned outdoor recreation and leadership training facility operated by Florida Tech in cooperation with the City of Fellsmere, Fla. A portion of funds go toward maintaining the 80-acre preserve of natural Florida ecosystems surrounding the course.
The Office of Continuing Education at Florida Tech provides non-degree job skills, career preparation, and professional enrichment training to the local, state, national and international community in the areas of applied behavior analysis, biomedical engineering, leadership, cultural competence, project management, innovation and more.
The university's Extended Studies Department offers specialized, career-oriented bachelor's and master's degree programs at learning locations in Florida, Alabama, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia, as well as through its Virtual Site (online).
There are 289 full-time and 104 part-time faculty at the Melbourne campus. 92% of full-time teaching faculty have a Ph.D. or other terminal degree appropriate to their field. Faculty experts may be contacted for consulting services and media commentary.
Florida Tech is an independent, not-for-profit university with a total budget of approximately $200 million.
The university partners with Bisk Education to deliver select associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees online. All FloridaTechOnline.com degree programs are designed and taught by Florida Tech faculty members, and are governed by the same academic and accreditation standards as the university's on-campus programs. The partnership is administered by the on-campus Office of Online Learning.
Opened in 2015, the Harris Student Design Center is a 11,500-square-foot student project facility. Made possible by a $1 million gift from Harris Corporation, it serve College of Engineering and Science seniors completing capstone design projects. The space includes a spray booth, welding stations, 2.5 ton overhead crane, electronics rooms and a conference room for team planning and idea development.
Florida Tech was founded in 1958 as “Brevard Engineering College” by Dr. Jerome P. Keuper, a physicist who worked at Cape Canaveral during the start of the “Space Race.” University lore suggests he started the university with an initial donation of 37 cents. The university’s name was changed to Florida Institute of Technology in 1966. Dr. Keuper served as president until 1986. Notable milestones are outlined in Florida Tech's Historical Timeline.
Florida Tech's annual Homecoming Fest, held in partnership with Melbourne Mainstreet, features street vendors, food, drinks and a free outdoor concert in Downtown Melbourne. Recent performers include The Fratellis (2017), Wyclef Jean (2016) and Matt and Kim (2015).
University faculty have studied the Indian River Lagoon for more than 30 years. The Indian River Lagoon Research Institute was established in 2013 to improve and sustain the health of the one-of-a-kind estuary. More than 20 engineering and science faculty conduct research and projects as part of the institute.
Held annually since 2007, Florida Tech's International Festival is a celebration of cultural diversity and international community. The event features traditional food, clothing, displays, and performances by students and local cultural organizations. The International Festival is free and open to the community.
The 5,500-horse power Florida Tech-branded jet dragster is owned and operated by university affiliate and tenant, Larsen Motorsports, a family-run motorsports company and industry leader in jet technology and student enrichment. Larsen Motorsports operates out of a 30,000-square-foot-space in Florida Tech's Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design, which is located minutes away from campus in Palm Bay, Florida.
The Evans Library and Learning Commons is a high-tech hub for learning, innovation, discovery and digital scholarship where students and faculty alike can access information and resources vital to their research and scholarship. Evans Library houses a Digital Scholarship Laboratory, the Harry P. Weber University Archives, and special collections including the papers of Edwin A. Link, Major General Bruce Medaris, and poet Edmund Skellings.
Completed in 2016 through a partnership with Melbourne Mainstreet, the Florida Tech mural is located on the side of the building at 800 E. New Haven Ave. in historic downtown Melbourne. The mural, by artist Christopher Maslow, depicts a black panther moving through water, earth, air and space—areas in which Florida Tech has made significant scientific contributions.
Inscribed on the university’s seal is Florida Tech’s motto, “Ad Astra Per Scientiam.” This Latin phrase translates as, “To the Stars Through Science.”
The Northrop Grumman Engineering and Science Student Design Showcase is an annual event during which teams of graduating engineering and science students present their capstone projects and research posters. In 2009, a $1 million endowment gift from Northrop Grumman Corporation provided ongoing support for the students’ work. The gift reflects the company’s longstanding commitment to boosting interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and the value of hands-on learning.
Engineer and inventor T. Dwayne McCay, Ph.D. currently serves as Florida Tech’s fifth president. Dr. McCay was inaugurated as university president in 2016 after serving as Florida Tech’s provost, executive vice president and chief operating officer for 13 years.
Past Florida Tech Presidents:
Florida Tech ROTC, home of the Panther Battalion, provides leadership training and military science education for students who wish to become officers in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, and the U.S. Army National Guard. Students who participate in the program are eligible for full tuition scholarships from the U.S. Army.
University supporter Ruth E. Funk donated her personal collection of international textiles, along with a monetary donation of $1 million, to establish the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, which opened in 2009. The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts houses Mrs. Funk's collection and hosts exhibitions of both traditional and modern textiles.
Florida Tech is committed to ensuring the safety, security and well-being of its faculty, staff and students. As such, the 20+ officers that make up the university’s Office of Security actively monitor the campus, respond to emergencies, and serve the diverse needs the Panther community 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This includes active coordination with local and state emergency service providers as warranted. Annual security and fire safety reports are made available to the public.
Florida Tech awards merit-based Panther Fund scholarships of up to 50% of tuition to qualified students at the time of admission. Annually, the university selects one outstanding new student to receive its most prestigious award, the Farmer Scholarship, which covers 100% of tuition, fees, housing and a regular university meal plan.
Made possible by the generosity of Edward and Cheryl Scott, the Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Tech opened on the university's campus in 2009. It is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization that provides children, youth and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and provides a full-range of evaluation and services, from diagnosis to intensive treatment, to parents and children from around the world.
WFIT 89.5 FM is a non-commercial, public radio station licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the Trustees of the Florida Institute of Technology. It is a National Public Radio affiliate station broadcasting with HD radio technology at 8,000 kilowatts, reaching north to Cocoa Beach and south to Vero Beach. WFIT operates out of a 5,000-square-foot facility that includes six recording studios, a performance studio, and a conference studio to facilitate the broadcast of round table discussions.