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Harris $1M Gift Creates Student Design Center

Company Continues Long History of Support for Florida Tech

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology today announced that a $1 million gift from Harris Corporation is creating a new Student Design Center at the university. The 11,500-square-foot, single story structure will serve College of Engineering and College of Science seniors completing capstone design projects.

“I am particularly proud of Florida Tech’s decades-long partnership with Harris, and grateful for this gift,” said Florida Tech President and CEO Anthony J. Catanese. “Design projects are a critical learning experience for our students. These projects give the engineers and scientists of tomorrow practical skill application before they graduate and enter the workplace. Harris is making an important investment in the next generation of innovation and discovery.”

The Harris Student Design Center will be located on the south side of campus, not far from the Harris Center for Science and Engineering that opened in 2009. In the new Harris Student Design Center’s high bay space, student teams will fabricate and assemble a variety of projects, from unmanned submersibles and Baja cars to lunabots. The high bay will include:

  • Overhead door, 20 feet wide by 16 feet tall
  • Spray booth
  • Welding stations
  • Parts cleaning and acid etching area
  • 2.5 ton overhead crane
  • Project storage space
  • Four electronics/project team rooms

“We are fortunate to have a top technological university such as Florida Tech so close to our world headquarters,” said William M. Brown, Harris chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Today’s students are our employees of tomorrow. It’s exciting to continue the long-standing, unique relationship we have with Florida Tech and build the advanced workforce we will need in the future.”

Construction will begin in February and be complete in time for fall semester classes in August. The gift, made through the Community Foundation of Brevard, will count in Florida Tech’s ongoing Create the Future campaign which is currently raising $100 million for priority needs of the university.

Additionally, in recognition of the gift’s significance, Catanese announced that the existing Florida Tech Commons building at the intersection of South Babcock Street and University Boulevard will be renamed Harris Commons. The three-story, 63,000-square-foot facility was designed as a new “front door” to campus and opened in 2012. It is home to a range of campus services including the Registrar’s Office and Admissions, as well as headquarters for the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts.

As Harris has been a university partner for decades, the company’s leaders have also served in university governance. Brown is a member of the Florida Tech Board of Trustees, and two former Harris CEOs also currently serve. Phillip W. Farmer, sitting Board of Trustees chairman, has served since 1994. John T. Hartley has served on the Florida Tech Board since 1987. Joseph A. Boyd is a trustee emeritus.

Harris is a leading global provider of communications and information technology products, software, systems and services to government, defense and commercial markets. Corporate headquarters are in Melbourne, and the company has about 14,000 employees who serve customers in more than 125 countries.

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