Florida’s 12th university held its grand opening over the weekend. Nearly a thousand people attended the launch of Florida Polytechnic University, including Gov. Rick Scott - who paid tribute to the Polk County state senator most responsible for its creation as an independent university.
Gov. Scott's opening remark upon taking the podium at Saturday's launch was directed to former senator J.D. Alexander, who led a bruising battle to create a new university from what had been a University of South Florida branch campus.
"If it hadn't been for Senator Alexander, this wouldn't have happened", Scott said. "It wasn't the easiest thing to accomplish, didn't make everybody happy."
Scott said that the university, with its focus on engineering and applied technology, would help the state's students find good jobs. And Scott said the state's existing universities would improve by having to compete with Florida Polytechnic.
About 550 students will start classes next Monday. The distinctive main building, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, can be seen from Interstate 4 in Polk County.