Would-be members of the board of trustees for Florida’s 12th state university now have a few extra days to fill out their applications, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.
The Florida Board of Governors announced Thursday that it would extend the deadline for those looking for a place on the board until Monday afternoon after a crush of applications. The board has already received 39 applications for the five trustees it must name for the new Florida Polytechnic University. As of last week, there were only four applications for those positions.
A spokeswoman for the board said in an email that the volume of applications today led to the decision to extend the deadline.
Gov. Rick Scott will appoint six members of the board of trustees for the new school. The leader of the university’s Faculty Senate and the student body president would also serve on the board.
Meanwhile, a group of elected officials and business leaders in Polk County unveiled “Florida Poly Vision,” a group meant to fill in for the alumni association and booster groups that a fully fledged university would have. Florida Polytechnic University is being created by breaking off the Lakeland campus of the University of South Florida.
Supporters of the new initiative conceded that the process of setting up FPU had at time divided the county.
“But I say to you that it’s done, it’s here and I think it is important for all of us … to support this university and see that it move forward,” said Victor Story, president of The Story Companies.
The gathering also served as a sort of implicit answer to those who have criticized the creation of the university as a pet project of outgoing Senate Budget Chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who pushed a bill immediately granting Polytechnic independence through the Legislature earlier this year.
“I hope you begin to see this isn’t about me,” Alexander said in brief remarks. He stood on one end of the line of supporters behind the podium and didn’t speak until near the end of the short event.
But Alexander continued to press the case for the school, saying that most major states have a similar school focused on graduating students with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.
“Florida doesn’t have that in our state universities,” Alexander said. “We need it desperately, and we need it in this region.”