Keuper Statue

Why Florida Tech: An Open Letter


We are the members of the Florida Tech Parents Council; our children are current students or recent graduates of Florida Tech, and through our experience with the school, we have volunteered to support its mission. As advisors to President Dwayne McCay and his leadership team, we have seen the unique qualities that have enriched our children, personally, academically and professionally.

In light of current events, you may be thinking about how college this Fall will be different and how your student will be kept safe on campus.  We believe that Florida Tech is very well positioned to provide both a safe environment and the highest quality education for its students.  We feel that this is the right place for our children, and for yours.

The Virtues of Florida Tech

Students select Florida Tech for many individual reasons, but we focus on several differentiating features we think are some of the most important.

We are a small university, with an undergraduate enrollment of about 3,300. We have seen how our students develop close relationships with their classmates and their professors. Smaller classes emphasize participatory learning and direct access to instructors who can engage each student on an individual level. And yet, Florida Tech attracts students and faculty from across the country and around the world, ensuring the highest diversity of input, perspectives, and experience.

Florida Tech’s size also contributes to a more cohesive community; students walking across campus see the familiar faces of friends, faculty, and staff. For young adults learning to navigate the complexities of life that sense of community ensures that they don’t feel lost in the crowd, and provides a higher degree of safety that comes from the knowledge that people are looking out for one another.

While many universities try to be all things to all people, Florida Tech’s Focus helps students identify that “this is the place for me”. By dedicating its efforts to the sciences, engineering and aeronautics/aviation, along with a nationally-regarded business program, and a College of Psychology and Liberal Arts, Florida Tech ensures that its students know that their interests and ambitions are at the core of the university’s mission. Furthermore, teaching is always at the forefront. Faculty are there first and foremost to educate our students.

Finally, Florida Tech emphasizes a hands-on real-world experience. When our students graduate, they are among the most job-ready of any graduates in the country. They gain the skills and confidence needed to succeed. Our senior design projects are always among the top in state-wide competitions and students get real-world experience with national technology companies. Students in the business school have access to one of the nation’s best small business associations in weVenture. Students in the aeronautics get the most and highest quality flight time. And students in the College of Psychology get hands-on experience working, for example, with children and families facing Autism.

Moving forward

We believe that the features described above will continue no matter what adaptations and adjustments must be made.  Below are some of the reasons we feel confident that Florida Tech will continue to be the right place through the Fall-Spring 2020-21.

  • Successful Rapid Transition:
    The coronavirus pandemic took everyone by surprise. Our children came home for Spring Break with just a week’s worth of clothing, and later were informed that their classes would resume online. Florida Tech made that transition as smooth as possible under the circumstances. Faculty converted lectures to recorded videos, learned new platforms for conveying their materials, and showed creativity to keep students engaged and motivated. For more on this process, please see How Florida Tech Came Together to Get Classes Online.
  • Courageously allowed students to remain on Campus:
    Because many parts of the country, and the world, were more profoundly affected by COVID-19 than central Florida, the university allowed students to remain on campus through the remainder of the school year if they wished. The University has demonstrated a proactive response to social distancing, hygiene and personal accountability among all members of the campus community, to limit the exposure of Covid-19.
  • STEM students are a vital part of our national response:
    Florida Tech graduates are among the leaders in companies and government agencies seeking to address pandemics. The university recently committed to building an advanced biotechnology facility for teaching and research. Moreover, all areas of the College of Engineering and Science, including Florida Tech’s demonstrated strengths in advanced manufacturing, computation, space and aeronautics, can contribute to addressing challenges such as coronavirus. In short, Florida Tech is the ideal environment for students to obtain the tools needed to fight 21st century challenges.
  • As a small school, Florida Tech is nimble:
    President McCay and his team have demonstrated outstanding response and foresight. Florida Tech was among the first to take seriously the threat of Covid 19 and to develop plans for commencement and ultimately to move to remote learning.  In addition, input from the Parent Leadership Council (PLC) is welcomed and we are active in proposing constructive ways to prioritize students’ safety and academic success by successfully balancing the values of personalized learning with appropriate precautionary measures.
  • As a small school, Florida Tech will be able to adapt:
    Florida Tech will have the means to keep students safe, as it has done throughout the spring and summer 2020. Planning is ongoing and will evolve as facts develop, but it is clear that the university can very quickly implement needed precautions to ensure our students are safe.
  • As a small community, we feel that Melbourne and Brevard County are safer than many other areas:
    Every region has been impacted and none are risk-free, but campus and the surrounding community are significantly less dense and the ability to limit exposure is easier in a region like Florida Tech’s.

A parent’s greatest concern when raising a college-aged child is whether he or she will be prepared to face the world’s threats and dangers when they’re not under our direct supervision.  We feel confident that our children are in a safe, supportive environment at Florida Tech; a place where they can learn and grow in spite of, and because of, the challenges we all face in the world today.

We hope we’ve helped answer some of your questions and allay some of your concerns.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us through Donna Cassario,​  our Florida Tech liaison, if we can be of further help.


The Florida Tech Parent Leadership Council 2020-21

  • Brian Baney
  • Holly Baney
  • Marc Began
  • Rae Gina Began
  • Anthony Branca
  • Lisa Branca
  • James Blackford 
  • Stephanie Blackford
  • Teena Burchianti
  • Vince Burchianti
  • Laura Burke
  • Bert Carson
  • David Chin
  • Eileen Chin
  • Deborah Corcoran
  • Kevin Corcoran
  • Joseph Dajcs
  • Maurine Dajcs
  • Sally Derhammer
  • Deepak Dhadoti
  • Jyoti Dhadoti
  • Amy Ellington 
  • Jason Ellington
  • David Fawkes
  • Rosa Fawkes
  • Harshita Jani
  • Nilesh Jani
  • Christine Johnson
  • Kjel Johnson
  • Holly Katrina
  • Mark Katrina
  • Angelia Layun
  • Ricardo Layun
  • Mary Lockhart
  • George Lopes
  • Nanette Lopes
  • Beth Nevins
  • Paul Nevins
  • Mitchell Parker
  • Nancy Parker
  • Bryan Pommer
  • Tatianna Pommer
  • Marta Porter
  • Rick Porter
  • Sandra Rago
  • Gerardo Santiago
  • Meyle Santiago
  • Cynthia Schelhorn
  • Stan Schelhorn
  • David Szalus
  • Monica Szalus
  • Cynthia Wagner
  • Ed Wagner
  • Andy White
  • Barbara White
  • R. Greg Williams
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