USF Lakeland officials just received word that Governor Crist signed the legislation giving the campus autonomy. There will be an official press release in the morning, but word is the Governor was strong in his endorsement of the move.
The campus board previously approved the autonomy issue, name change and related issues. That means the campus is ready to move and will officially be known as USF Polytechnic on July 1st.
Note that the Governor has yet to sign the budget, but the belief is that the USF money will be approved this year.
Look here tomorrow for additional information.
Update: It looks like the Ledger finally added the story to their site. Bill Rufty gave a couple of quotes from the Governor’s press release or you can read the whole thing here: (Update 6/11: I was informed Rufty uploaded his story a short period before it went live on the Ledger. That slower moving hierarchy is an unfortunate part of the main stream media.)
GOVERNOR CHARLIE CRIST
Regarding Senate Bill 186
“I am pleased to sign into law today Senate Bill 186, establishing the University of South Florida Lakeland campus as the University of South Florida Polytechnic. This step forward for higher education will place this campus on the same level as other campuses of the University of South Florida.
This developing campus currently offers more than 20 undergraduate and graduate degrees and serves more than 2,000 students each year, with plans to double enrollment in the next few years. With this legislation, the institution will become the state’s first polytechnic campus, strengthening our commitment to higher education, training a highly-skilled workforce and increasing economic benefits for the growing Central Florida region.
“I thank Senators J.D. Alexander and Carey Baker as well as Representatives Seth McKeel and Ed Homan for their leadership on this issue. I look forward to the great work and continuing commitment to research and education from this promising institution.”