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It may only be September, but our busy academic year is in full swing – and it got a running start this summer.

August 27th was a day that will stand in university history. That’s the day we announced the creation of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute. Legendary moonwalker and Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin was here for this historic announcement, which made headlines around the world.

Dr. Aldrin joins the university faculty as Florida Tech Research Professor of Aeronautics and will serve as senior faculty advisor for the Institute.

Dr. Aldrin’s work here will support commercial and international development of lunar resources to support an ultimate mars settlement. Research will be a key facet of the Institute – just as it is across our other colleges and departments.

This summer saw worldwide attention for our research, in fact, including traditional stalwarts such as The Washington Post, the venerable London-based publications New Scientist and the Daily Mail, to web-based outlets including Slate and Discovery, Space.com, Phys.org, Science.com, Reddit and Mashable.

They were writing about research led by Ningyu Liu that helped us better understand electrical discharges called sprites certainly lit up the media world. Other research making news here and abroad included studies on coral reefs from Rob van Woesik, which were covered by the National Public Radio affiliate WMFE in Orlando and well as Reuters, Science Daily and Florida Climate Institute, among others.

And just this month, research on certain types of stars and the raging storms of winds and plasma that surrounds them led by our Veronique Petit, first published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, was picked up by news outlets around the world. And Rich Aronson’s work, published late in September in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, on how warming oceans is leading king crabs to encroach on Antarctic environments where they have not been for millions of years, is expected to generate substantial media coverage.

We received another great piece of news earlier this month: for the sixth consecutive year, Florida Tech was named a Tier One Best National University by U.S. News & World Report. That means we are one of the top 200 four-year colleges and universities in the country among the nearly 1,400 ranked by the magazine.

In addition to again being named Tier One by U.S. News, we are now No. 1 in the nation for undergraduate student diversity, the magazine found. Florida Tech enrolled students from 119 countries last academic year, and our commitment to providing a world-class education for all continues.

I’m pleased that the fall is off to such a great start.

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