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LAKELAND, Fla. – Florida Polytechnic University announced a $2 million gift from Trustee Gary C. Wendt to support the creation of new leadership initiatives for students. 

Wendt has been closely involved with Florida Poly since 2017, when he joined its Board of Trustees. In this role, Wendt relentlessly searches for ways Florida Poly can provide not just academic excellence, but also valuable advantages to students over other universities. 

“Gary has already made an impact on Florida Poly as a committed trustee, sharing his expertise and insight over the years to successfully help the University move forward,” said Dr. Randy K. Avent, Florida Poly’s president. “This generous contribution will carry on his legacy of tenacity and leadership for our University for many years to come, and we are very grateful.”

In recognition of the impactful contribution, Florida Poly will name a future engineering building on campus after Wendt. The forthcoming building is expected to house spaces for engineering research and development, as well as new programs focused on cultivating leadership skills. 

Wendt moved to Florida 20 years ago after a prominent business career. He has a civil engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin and attended Harvard Business School. It was there he realized his leadership and confidence needed help. This memory motivated him to financially support new, robust programs to foster leadership among Florida Poly students.

“I’m a firm believer in giving students the chance to develop leadership because it broadens their ability to access various parts of the job market and provides much wider opportunities,” said Wendt, former chairman and CEO of GE Capital, the financial services division of General Electric. “As just scientists or engineers, they’re limited in those things. But if we add to the strong leadership component in the school, we can deliver a great advantage to students.”    

Kathy Bowman, vice president of advancement at Florida Poly, said the gift will be transformational for Florida Poly students hoping to lead tomorrow’s tech industries.  

“We are honored to have Gary’s support through this remarkable gift that will be life changing for many students as they acquire the necessary tools to excel in industry,” Bowman said. “Gary is passionate about seeing our students succeed and become the next high-tech leaders for Florida and the nation. This investment represents his undeniable commitment to making this a reality.”

For the most recent University news, visit Florida Poly News.

About Florida Polytechnic University: Florida Polytechnic University is ranked the number one public college in the South, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and a member of the State University System of Florida. Nationally ranked in engineering education, Florida Poly is the only state university dedicated exclusively to STEM and offers ABET-accredited degrees. Florida Poly is a powerful economic engine within the state of Florida, blending applied research with industry partnerships to give students an academically rigorous education with real-world relevance. Florida Poly’s iconic Innovation, Science, and Technology Building,designed by world-renowned architect Dr. Santiago Calatrava, has won more than 20 global awards and was named one of the 16 most breathtaking buildings in the worldConnect with Florida Poly.

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