Florida Board of Governors confirms Dr. Devin Stephenson as Florida Poly President

by | May 9, 2024

The Florida Board of Governors confirmed Dr. Devin Stephenson as the new president of Florida Polytechnic University, succeeding Randy Avent, with Stephenson set to begin his tenure on July 7.

The Florida Board of Governors on Wednesday confirmed Dr. Devin Stephenson as the new president of Florida Polytechnic University, succeeding Randy Avent.

Stephenson, who currently serves as president of Northwest Florida State College, will begin his tenure at Florida Poly on July 7, following Avent’s departure on July 6. The confirmation follows Stephenson’s selection by the Florida Poly Board of Trustees on April 15, and the subsequent approval of a three-year contract with a base salary of $490,000.

During his confirmation hearing, Stephenson outlined his vision for Florida Poly, emphasizing enrollment growth, infrastructure expansion, improved student success, and increased fundraising efforts. His extensive experience in higher education leadership is expected to drive these goals forward.

“I believe all organizations define their existence through distinct seasons. The past 10 years have been a season of positioning, and now, I believe the university is poised for a vibrant season of advancement,” said Stephenson, who holds a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Alabama. “This next phase will be characterized by enrollment growth, infrastructure expansion, improved student success metrics, faculty recognition and innovation.”

Stephenson has been at the helm of Northwest Florida State College for seven years, where he was able to increase the institution’s funding. Under his leadership, the college’s foundation assets grew to more than $63 million, grant acquisitions exceeded $66 million, and legislative appropriations surpassed $40 million.

A presidential search was launched last year after Avent, the university’s founding president announced that he would step down from his role after serving as the institution’s lone leader since its inception in 2014.

In a public letter, Avent informed students and faculty that he intends to enter retirement in July 2024 but will continue as president until a successor is identified through a nationwide candidate search.

Under Avent, Florida Poly attained ABET accreditation in 2019 and regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in 2017. He also secured a public-private partnership with Fortune 500 company IFF to build its Global Citrus Innovation Center and oversaw the construction of a $47 million research building.

“Leading the University from its infancy to the strong campus we have today has been the privilege of my lifetime,” said AventI never imagined that I would be able to help establish a brand-new STEM university and mold the way it would serve students, industry, and the entire state.”


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