Florida Tech History

By  //  March 12, 2013


BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – More than 37,000 students have earned degrees at Florida Institute of Technology.

These graduates confirm the university’s commitment to developing leaders and professionals in the fields of engineering, the sciences, business, aviation and psychology.

Following is a timeline of major events in the university’s history:

1958 Brevard Engineering College is founded by by Dr. Jerome P. Keuper to offer continuing education opportunities to scientists, engineers and technicians who are working for NASA at Cape Canaveral. working at what is now Kennedy Space Center. The new school grew quickly, in many ways paralleling the rapid development of space technology that was taking place at Cape Canaveral.
1961 The university moves to its current Melbourne campus in 1961 and began construction of administration and classroom buildings. During the 1960s, additional classroom and laboratory buildings, a library, the Denius Student Center, Hedgecock Gymnasium, Gleason Auditorium and several dormitories are all constructed, and as the decade ends, the seven-story Crawford Building is being completed.
1964 The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is the only such independent institution in the Southeast.
1966 University officially changes its name to Florida Institute of Technology in acknowledgement of its growing identity as a scientific and technological university.
1972 The university’s first off-campus program is launched in Maryland in 1972 at the request of the U.S. Navy. Today, the program extends master’s-level work at nine locations in six states and via the Virtual Graduate Center through the Extended Campus distance learning program.
1974 Originally, all graduate students attended classes on a part-time basis, but by 1974, nearly half of those enrolled are full-time students, able to choose their master’s studies from some 14 diverse areas.
The new Evans Library is completed.
1985 In 1985, the original library is renovated and dedicated as the Jerome P. Keuper Administration Building.
1986 In July 1986, Dr. John E. Miller is named the second president of the university. The title of President Emeritus is bestowed upon the late Drs. Keuper and Miller.
1987 The university’s third president, Dr. Lynn Edward Weaver, takes office. Dr. Weaver, who retired in 2002, oversaw dramatic changes at Florida Tech.
1988 The Homer R. Denius Student Center is renovated, the student plaza is completed and the Applied Research Laboratory Building is acquired.
1990 The Claude Pepper Institute for Aging and Therapeutic Research and Skurla Hall, home of the School of Aeronautics, both opened.
1997 Florida Tech receives a $50 million grant from the F.W. Olin Foundation.
1999 As a result of this grant, two major facilities are completed in the fall of 1999-an Engineering Complex and a Life Sciences Building. Construction of the new Charles and Ruth Clemente Center for Sports and Recreation is made possible by a generous gift from a Florida Tech trustee and his wife, and the F.W. Olin Foundation. Among its many features the state-of-the-art facility houses varsity and intramural courts, a complete fitness center, aerobics room, walking track and the athletics department offices.
2002 Dr. Anthony James Catanese becomes the fourth president of the university. Dr. Catanese joins Florida Tech after a dozen successful years as the president of Florida Atlantic University. A well-regarded urban planner, Dr. Catanese also holds the position of professor in Florida Tech’s College of Business. He is a prolific writer, having authored 13 books and more than 65 journal articles.
2003 Construction is completed on seven new residence halls, which are named for each of the seven fallen astronauts of the Shuttle Columbia and dedicated to their memory.
2004 University launches Panther Pride Florida Tech license plate.Online master’s degree in information technology launches through Bisk Education.
2005 F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Center opens.
2006 Buehler Trust donates $1.5 million to fund a training and research center at Melbourne International Airport.Ruth Funk donates $1.25 million to create a textiles museum.Hosted the 25th Anniversary Indian River Lagoon Symposium.
2007 Kicked off $50 million capital campaign.Online Undergraduate and MBA degree programs launch through Bisk Education.Hosted International Sustainability Conference.
2008 Groundbreaking takes place for Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts and Harris Center for Science and Engineering.Construction begins on the Emil Buehler Center for Aviation Training and Research at Melbourne International Airport.Students will begin calling the Harris Village home in the fall.The Ortega reflecting telescope, the largest research telescope in Florida, is installed
2009 College of Business becomes Nathan M. Bisk College of Business.Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts opensEmil Buehler Center for Aviation Training and Research established at Melbourne International AirportGolden Anniversary Campaign concludes, nearly $59.5 raisedScott Center for Autism Treatment opensHarris Center for Science and Engineering and, within it, Harris Institute for Information Assurance openFlorida Tech Research Park established at Melbourne International Airport
2010 Football Program initiated
2011 Panther Dining Hall opens$2.5 million launches fund-raising for new School of PsychologyUniversity merges with Brevard Art Museum; $1 million gift establishes it as FOOSANER ART MUSEUMPanther Aquatic Center completed