Campus Update

May 13, 2022

Dear Florida Tech community,

Congratulations to all on a remarkable Spring 2022 Commencement last Saturday. It was an exciting day for graduates and their families that will live on in memories for years to come.

It is important to celebrate success, and this week, I would like to highlight three examples of noteworthy student accomplishments from the Spring Semester. With the support of our excellent faculty, these enterprising individuals make us all proud.

Our chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) competed in 18 events at their 2022 Southeast Student Conference in Tallahassee. They placed fifth overall among 19 universities. A concrete canoe competition, professional paper writing, and dozens of other events tested the students’ skills. Attending were Anuar Kachurin, Vinai Balroop, Alex Bowers, Ian Garvey, Dylan Hall, Stephan Heinrichs, Alyssa McAdams, Gavin Olsen, Paul Ryan, Callie Siering, Cole Stubbe, and Cole Yorio. Kudos to them and to advisor Paul Cosentino.

Florida Tech students designed a device for the early detection and dynamic monitoring of breast cancer and scored the top prize of $10,000 in seed funding at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s annual Launch Your Venture business competition. EarlyByrd, from the team of Bindi Nagda, a third-year Ph.D. applied mathematics major, Nashaita Patrawalla, a first-year Ph.D. biomedical engineering major, Harold Raghunandan, a senior software engineering major, and Lilah Henderson, a second-year master’s student in chemical engineering, competed against five other startups to take highest honors. Well done!

Finally, our students won first place in the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) Spring 2022 Live Case Competition for their business plan involving the Ohio-based pizza restaurant company Donatos. Florida Tech’s team of Daniel Aizenberg, Farran Barker, Joshua Brathwaite, and Nolan DeMayo produced the winning entry. Congratulations to the team and to advisor Tim Muth.

These are just a few of the many accolades I could mention of our faculty and students, and we are proud of all of them. Florida Tech students never fail to impress across a range of disciplines and programs, demonstrating their relentless determination and skill.

Have a great weekend.

Sincerely,

Marco Carvalho, Ph.D.
Acting President

Announcements & Messages

Prior announcements and messages to the greater Florida Tech community may be referenced below.

May 6, 2022

Dear Florida Tech community,

Tomorrow marks the culmination of the academic year as we celebrate Spring Commencement. It will be an exciting day for graduates and their families and friends. Our faculty and staff will certainly share in the joyous occasion.

Florida Tech will confer 1,253 degrees on Saturday. At the 9:30 a.m. undergraduate ceremony, more than 540 students are set to walk across the stage while at the 2 p.m. graduate ceremony we anticipate more than 365 participants. Our 2022 graduating class includes students from 54 countries and 42 states, a testament to the strength and reputation of our academic programs. It will be a wonderful day for all.

I am also pleased to report that our FITSEC Cybersecurity Team at the L3Harris Institute for Assured Information has placed second out of 3,658 teams at the National Cyber League tournament. Blake Janes led the team to a medal position for the third straight season. The team included Carl Mann, Isaiah Thomas, Tiffanie Petersen, and Ivan Hernandez, who will graduate with Computer Science with Cyber Operations Concentration degrees on Saturday. The team also included Logan Suarez and Nick Falco. Meanwhile, FITSEC had two other teams place #19 and #26 in the competition. Please join me in congratulating faculty advisor Dr. TJ O’Connor and the entire team.

The dedication shown by our campus community demonstrates the high level of commitment all of our faculty, staff, and students invest in their futures. That relentlessness remains a trademark of this institution and the foundation of our shared success.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Sincerely,

Marco Carvalho, Ph.D.
Acting President

April 29, 2022

Dear Florida Tech community,

I am regularly impressed by the commitment and dedication of our university’s students, faculty, and staff. As we concluded classes this week and all prepare for final exams next week, that commitment to finish well the academic year is evident across campus.

I had the pleasure of attending an excellent presentation by Florida Tech students Tuesday at our Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design (CAMID) facilities in Palm Bay. These students are interning with our partners at Larsen Motorsports, developing the next generation of jet dragster. Through collaboration with outstanding partners like Northrop Grumman and Siemens, our students are utilizing digital twins for the design and manufacture of the next generation of jet dragsters, expanding their knowledge and honing their technical skills. I applaud their success and outstanding work.

I would also like to take a moment to thank our dedicated Residence Life student staff for the care and concern they bring to their jobs, supporting students living in our residence halls. We have 68 residence directors and assistants whose responsibilities are often a round-the-clock commitment. We congratulate the 27 staffers who will graduate next weekend—nine graduate students and 18 undergraduates—and commend them for helping to make our campus a welcoming home away from home.

Finally, we look forward to tonight’s presentation in the Gleason Performing Arts Center by retired U.S. Army four-star general Stanley McChrystal, who will address “Understanding Risk and Mastering the Unknown.” Our F. Alan Smith Distinguished Lecture Series regularly brings stellar speakers to campus to share their experiences and knowledge, and this evening’s presentation promises to be illuminating.

Please enjoy your weekend as we all prepare to conclude the academic year next week.

Sincerely,

Marco Carvalho, Ph.D.
Acting President

April 22, 2022

It has been another excellent week. Our students, faculty, and staff demonstrate every day what a special university we share.

Today marks Earth Day, the annual recognition highlighting the importance of protecting our planet’s environment. I believe every day is Earth Day at Florida Tech, as our university community remains keenly focused on better understanding and nurturing our natural world, from the Indian River Lagoon, Antarctica, and coral reefs to the heavens above. Research, education, and understanding build the foundation of positive change.

Also today, we hosted one of the highlights of the academic year—our Northrop Grumman Engineering and Science Student Design Showcase. The Clemente Center was filled with nearly 100 inventions, posters, and assemblies representing the ingenuity and creativity of our Florida Tech students. With the support of our faculty and the partnership of the business community, the event was another great success. The showcase annually shines the spotlight on the significance of a STEM education and the value of hands-on learning. Congratulations to all.

Looking ahead, it promises to be a busy end to the spring semester. Next Friday, April 29, we will host Stanley McChrystal, the retired U.S. Army four-star general who led Joint Special Operations Command and later oversaw U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan. Gen. McChrystal will speak at Florida Tech’s F. Alan Smith Distinguished Lecture Series. Then, the culmination of the academic year will be celebrated Saturday, May 7, with Spring Commencement exercises.

I continue to be proud to work with you as we all advance the mission of this great university. Thanks for all you do.

Sincerely,

Marco Carvalho, Ph.D.
Acting President

April 20, 2022

Dear Florida Tech community,

The Board of Trustees understands that it has no singular responsibility more important than the selection of the next leader for Florida Tech. We are committed to ensuring that the process is consistent with the principles of equity and inclusion and that faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other university stakeholders have an opportunity to provide input as we identify our selection criteria and evaluate candidates. To assist the university in this important process, the Board will engage a professional search firm to support us in conducting a national search with a goal to have the selected candidate take office on or before the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year.

I’m excited to share with you next steps in the process:

  • A search committee will be appointed by the end of April and will include Board members and the President of the Faculty Senate.
  • The Board will also form a search advisory committee that it intends will include a majority of members from our various university stakeholder groups including faculty, administration, student government, staff, alumni, community, etc. to provide input and feedback to the search committee throughout the process. This advisory group will play a key role as we conduct “listening sessions,” meet candidates, and work together to bring forward the best candidates to the full Board of Trustees for final selection.
  • The full Board will vote to select the next President.

It is anticipated that this process may take up to a year. In the interim, the Board has decided to appoint an external Interim President to work with our existing leadership team to ensure continuity in operations and to maintain positive momentum of our great university. Candidates for this external Interim President will be identified by the search committee. The full Board will vet these external interim candidates and will make this temporary appointment. The external Interim President will not be eligible to apply for the permanent role of President and will serve only in the interim capacity until the permanent presidential candidate takes office. The Board intends to have the external Interim President take office no later than June 30, 2022.

We are grateful to Acting President Dr. Carvalho, CFO Mr. Jones, and Board liaison Dr. Gronfeldt for taking on the additional responsibilities to ensure continuity of university operations during this transitional period by serving in the Office of the President. They will continue to serve in this capacity until the Interim President takes office, and we thank you all for supporting their efforts.

The Board wishes the university community a successful end of the semester and looks forward to engaging with many of you as these important processes move forward.

Sincerely,

Travis Proctor
Florida Tech Board Chairman

April 15, 2022

Dear Florida Tech community,

I am pleased to report that our Spring Semester 2022 is nearing a successful conclusion. Many thanks to everyone for their effort and energy as we reach the end of the academic year.

Spring Honors Convocation was held Thursday to celebrate the achievements of our students and faculty and their commitment to academic and professional excellence. We presented 380 student awards, including distinguished scholars, outstanding student of the year, and student excellence awards. Five Florida Tech faculty were honored for excellence in service, research, and teaching, including the Faculty Senate’s excellence awards and Student Government Association’s Professor of the Year Award. There were more than 400 attendees at the Gleason Performing Arts Center including students, families, faculty, and staff.

Meanwhile, the FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation—of which Florida Tech has been a core member for more than a decade—had its final meeting this week at our Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design (CAMID). The lifetimes of FAA centers of excellence of this type are legislated at 10 years, and it has been a worthwhile opportunity for collaboration over that period. Next, we look forward to the annual Northrop Grumman Engineering and Science Student Design Showcase in the Clemente Center Friday, April 22. It will be an excellent exhibition of our student research.

In terms Florida Tech’s leadership transition, the Board of Trustees is now finalizing the details of the search committees and timelines for the Presidential search. The Chairman of the Board will issue an update to our campus community in the next few days, and I will continue to keep you updated as additional information surrounding the transition process becomes available.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend. Thank you for your continued teamwork.

Sincerely,

Marco Carvalho, Ph.D.
Acting President

April 1, 2022

Dear Florida Tech community,

First, thank you for the good wishes and notes of support that you have shared with the university as Dr. McCay has announced his retirement. Your care and concern are deeply felt. Thank you also for the positive comments that you have made regarding our leadership transition process as we plan our next steps into Florida Tech’s bright future. Your teamwork and partnership will remain key.

Our Office of the President transitional leadership team is committed to fostering and supporting a positive environment during this transitional time that will continue to allow all members of the university community to do what they do best. Our hardworking students and dedicated faculty and staff achieve great things every day, and we have no doubt that will continue.

As the Board of Trustees leads the presidential search process and next steps are planned, please know that we will keep you closely updated with regular news and information. Answering your questions and welcoming your feedback are integral to the process.

Again, thank you for doing what you do—and doing it so well. We look forward to what’s next.

Sincerely,

Marco Carvalho, Ph.D.
Acting President

March 25, 2022

Dear Florida Tech community:

We are writing to share important news regarding a change in leadership at Florida Tech.

Earlier today President Dwayne McCay informed the Board of Trustees of his decision to retire as president for personal reasons at the conclusion of the 2022 fiscal year. The Board has accepted his resignation and has granted his request for immediate personal leave for the remainder of the fiscal year to spend time with his family.

We thank President McCay and his wife, Mary Helen, for their many years of service to the university, and we wish them the best in their future endeavors. We are especially grateful for President McCay’s leadership during the pandemic, and, in particular, his ability to keep our community informed, focused, and united during uncertain times.

The Board of Trustees has authorized the creation of the “Office of the President” effective immediately lead by Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Marco Carvalho, and Sr. Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Mike Jones. Under the authority of this office, Dr. Carvalho will serve as acting president. This group will work in partnership to ensure continuity of university management and governance during this transitional time.

The Board commits its utmost confidence in this experienced leadership team as they work together to oversee university operations. Additionally, current Board of Trustees academic chair, Dr. Svafa Gronfeldt, will serve as Board liaison in the Office of the President further ensuring this leadership team will have the full support of the Board of Trustees as they lead the university.

The Board of Trustees will soon begin a formal and thorough search process for the next president. More information will be forthcoming, but we expect that search to be led by a special board-appointed search committee.

While we understand that transitions like these can be difficult, these changes do not impact our university’s unwavering commitment to our diverse community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni and their relentless pursuit of greatness. We remain dedicated to advancing our mission and ensuring that Florida Tech continues to be a university of distinction, quality, and value – one that is internationally recognized for excellence in science and technology, both now and in the future.

Sincerely,

Travis Proctor
Board Chair
Florida Institute of Technology