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If you’re reading this column, you more than likely know Florida Tech is a good university. You know our faculty are renowned, our students are curious and hard-working, our campus is a tropical oasis.

You know we are one of the top 20 small universities in the world, according to London-based Times Higher Education, and among the best national universities in the country according to U.S. News & World Report rankings released earlier this month.

So yes, by our own standards, by the measurements of the top college ranking publications, by the success of our alumni, we are a very good university.

But I want us to be a great university.

I want us, within the next decade, to be home to one of the top 50 engineering colleges in the country and for us to be one of the top 100 universities overall. I want to ensure we continue to occupy a place on the international stage of academia that says, ‘This is one of the best schools that you can attend in the world.’

I want Florida Tech to be there with CalTech and MIT as the top-rated technical institutions in the land.

But wanting something doesn’t make it so. That’s why, in my address at our inauguration event Sept. 9, I talked about my plan to make this happen. I spoke after the keynote address from NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman on the historic and ongoing bonds between NASA and Florida Tech, and after the chairman of our Board of Trustees, Philip Farmer, helped to officially install me as our university’s fifth president.

Our plan will need the support of key agencies like NASA and visionaries like Mr. Farmer. It will also need a narrower focus than we’ve seen over the last decade. We will identify areas of excellence to strengthen, and ways to do that, all the while ensuring Florida Tech remains a vibrant and smartly sized institution of higher learning.

We are starting a new era at Florida Tech, one that appreciates where we’ve been but is not content to stand by. We know what we need to do to get to where we are going. Are you ready? Let’s get to work.

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