Florida Atlantic University: Wikis


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Florida Atlantic University
Established 1961
Type Public
Endowment $142.3 million[1]
President Dr. Mary Jane Saunders (President-elect)
Faculty 1,621[2]
Staff 1,652[2]
Students 26,897[2]
Undergraduates 20,946[2]
Postgraduates 3,874[2]
Other students 2,077[2]
Location Boca Raton, FL, USA
26°22′16″N 80°06′06″W / 26.3712°N 80.10166°W / 26.3712; -80.10166Coordinates: 26°22′16″N 80°06′06″W / 26.3712°N 80.10166°W / 26.3712; -80.10166
Campus Urban area
850 acres (3.5 km²)
6 other satellite campuses[3]
Colors FAU Blue     , FAU Red     , and FAU Silver     [4]
Nickname Owls
Mascot Owlsey the Burrowing Owl
Athletics NCAA Division I, SBC
19 varsity teams
Affiliations AACSB, NASULGC
Website www.fau.edu
Fau logo main.png

Florida Atlantic University, also referred to as FAU or Florida Atlantic, is a public, coeducational, research university located in Boca Raton, Florida, United States. The university has six satellite campuses located in the Florida cities of Dania Beach, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter, Port St. Lucie, and in Fort Pierce at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.[3] Florida Atlantic serves a seven-county region that has a populace of more than three million people and spans more than 100 miles (160 km) of Florida's eastern coastline.[5]

The university opened in 1964 as the first public university in southeast Florida and the first university in the nation to offer only upper-division and graduate level courses. Although initial enrollment was only 867 students, this number increased in 1984 when the university admitted its first undergraduate students.[6] As of 2008, enrollment has grown to approximately 27,000 students representing 139 countries, 48 states and the District of Columbia. Since its inception, Florida Atlantic has awarded more than 110,000 degrees to nearly 105,000 alumni worldwide.[2]

Once known strictly as a commuter school, in recent years Florida Atlantic has undertaken an effort to increase its academic and research standings while also evolving into a more traditional university. The university has raised admissions standards, increased research funding, built new facilities, and established notable partnerships with major research institutions.[2][7][8] The efforts have resulted in not only an increase in the university's academic profile, but also the elevation of the football team to Division I competition status, plans for an on-campus football stadium, more on-campus housing, and a partnership with the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine to develop a medical training program.[7][9][10][11]





On July 15, 1961, to meet the burgeoning educational demands of South Florida, the state legislature passed an act authorizing the establishment of a new university in the City of Boca Raton. Florida Atlantic University was built on a 1940s-era army airbase in Boca Raton. During World War II, the airfield served as the Army Air Corps' sole radar training facility. The base was built on the existing Boca Raton Airport and on 5,860 acres (23.7 km²) of adjacent land.[12] A majority of the land was acquired from Japanese-American farmers from the failing Yamato Colony. The land was seized through eminent domain, leaving many Japanese-Americans little recourse in the early days of World War II.[12]

The Alumni Plaza on the Boca Raton Campus of Florida Atlantic

The Boca Raton airbase was used for radar training, anti-submarine patrols along the coast, and as a stop-over point for planes being ferried to Africa and Europe via South America. It had a troop strength of 16,000 men, with approximately 1,200 civilian workers. The airfield was composed of four runways, each stretching 5,200 feet (1.58 km) long, set in a triangle shape, with one runway bisecting the triangle. These runways are still visible on the Boca Campus today and are mainly used for parking. Over the course of the war, the airfield would grow to encompass more than 800 buildings serving approximately 100,000 airmen, including those who were aboard the Enola Gay when it dropped a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima.[13][14] As the war drew to a close Boca Raton Army Airfield saw a steady decline in use. By the end of 1945, about only 100 planes were stationed at the airbase.[15][16]

By early 1947, the military decided to transfer future radar training operations to Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. This decision was finalized when, on September 17, 1947, the Fort Lauderdale Hurricane struck South Florida. According to historian Donald Curl, "the 1947 storm caused extensive damage to the hurriedly built frame structures of the base and was responsible for widespread flooding."[16] These conditions led the Air Force to abandon the site earlier than originally planned.[16] The departure of the air force in 1947 would leave Boca Raton Army Airfield essentially abandoned. Historian Roger Miller, who visited the airfield during this period, describes the airbase as having "a small operations office to check into and out of, a deteriorating and empty mess hall, and about twenty-odd other wooden buildings of World War II vintage."[17]

Expansion and growth

Florida Atlantic University opened on September 14, 1964, with an initial student body of 867 students in five colleges. The first degree awarded was an honorary doctorate given to President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 25, 1964 at the dedication and opening of the university.[18] At the time of its opening, Florida Atlantic's faculty numbered 120 out of a total of 350 employees. On-campus housing for students was first added in September 1965, when Algonquin Hall opened.[7][19]

Florida Atlantic's history is one of continuing expansion as the university's service population has grown. The university originally served only upper-division and graduate level students, because Florida intended the institution "to complement the state's community college system, accepting students who had earned their associate degrees from those institutions."[19] Florida Atlantic began its expansion beyond a one-campus university in 1971, when it opened its Commercial Boulevard campus in Fort Lauderdale. Due to a rapidly expanding population in South Florida, in 1984 Florida Atlantic took another major step by opening its doors to undergraduate students. The following year, the university added its third campus, in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Las Olas Boulevard.

Recent history

The President's residence at Baldwin House on the Boca Raton Campus

In 1989, the Florida Legislature recognized demands for higher education in South Florida by designating Florida Atlantic as the lead state university serving Broward County. To fill this role, the university would establish a campus in Dania Beach in 1997 and another campus in the City of Davie in western Broward County in 1990. Florida Atlantic later purchased 50 acres (0.2 km²) of land in Port St. Lucie in 1994 to establish a campus on the Treasure Coast. This would be the institution's fifth campus. The university continued its expansion in 1999 when it opened its Jupiter Campus, named for the late John D. MacArthur. This campus houses the university's honors college.

Florida Atlantic University and the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine established a medical training program within the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science in 2004. Plans originally called for the construction of a new teaching hospital in coordination with Boca Raton Community Hospital on the main campus. However, following successive budgets deficits, the hospital delayed its participation indefinitely in 2007.[20][21][22][23] The Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI) also joined the university in 2007, creating Florida Atlantic's seventh campus.[24] To bring HBOI into the university family the Florida Legislature allocated $44 million to Florida Atlantic to acquire the institution.[25]

Florida Atlantic has changed dramatically since its opening in 1964. As of 2008, there are approximately 27,000 students attending classes on seven campuses spread across 120 miles (193 km). The university consists of ten colleges and employs more than 3,200 faculty and staff. The university's endowment decreased from $182 million in June 2008 to $142 million in January 2009 due to a worsening economy.[26] Since its founding, the university has been led by six presidents. The university's current president is Mary Jane Saunders, Ph.D. Saunders was named president on March 3, 2010, following the resignation of Frank Brogan. Brogan, a former Lieutenant Governor of Florida, left the university in late 2009 to become Chancellor of the State University System of Florida. The past university presidents are Frank T. Brogan, Dr. Anthony J. Catanese, Dr. Helen Popovich, Dr. Glenwood Creech, and Dr. Kenneth Rast Williams.



Florida Atlantic University's student body consists of 20,946 undergraduates, 3,874 graduate and professional students, and 2,077 unclassified students. The undergraduate student body contains 44% ethnic minorities and includes students from 141 countries, 48 states, and the District of Columbia.[27][28] For the undergraduate class of 2012, the acceptance rate was 54%.[29]

The North West 20th Street entrance sign, Boca Raton Campus

The university has ten colleges which altogether offer more than 145 different bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs.[30] These ten colleges are the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, College Of Architecture, Urban and Public Affairs, College of Business, College of Education, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science and the Graduate College.[31]

The university offers two honors options: the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College and a University Scholars Program. The Wilkes Honors College is located on the John D. MacArthur campus in Jupiter, Florida. It offers a liberal arts education in the platform of a public university, yet is comparable to a private liberal arts college.[32] The Boca Raton campus houses the University Scholars Program, which offers special honors seminars, forums, courses, and advanced course substitution for freshmen.

Florida Atlantic University's admission requirements have been traditionally considered low.[33][34] However, the institution has begun gradually increasing standards to improve its graduation and retention rates. Starting in the summer of 2004, Florida Atlantic began denying entry to students with low GPA and SAT scores. Prospective students were directed to take remedial courses at a community college to better prepare them for success at the university. For fall 2009, a minimum GPA of 2.6 and a minimum SAT score of 1390 or a composite score of 20 on the ACT are required for admission.[35] Following a surge in the university's popularity, in early 2009 Florida Atlantic created its first wait-list for undergraduate enrollment. After February 15, 2009 applicants for admission in the 2009-2010 academic year were required to have a 3.5 GPA or an SAT score of 1600 (out of 2,400 total) to be considered.[36] For the 2009–2010 academic year, the average high school GPA for an entering freshman was 3.4, with a score of 1069 on the SAT, and a 23 on the ACT.[2] The average class size for undergraduates is 33 students, and for graduate classes, 12 students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1.[2][37] The top three undergraduate majors by enrollment are elementary education, accounting, and management, respectively. The top three graduate majors by enrollment are business administration, nursing, and educational leadership. The average age for first-year students is 18; however, the average age for all undergraduates is 24. The average age for graduate students is 34.[2] The average 4-year graduation rate for first-time, non-transfer students is 14%. The 6-year graduation rate is 37%.[38]

The S.E. Wimberly Library on the Boca Raton Campus of Florida Atlantic

Notable programs at Florida Atlantic are: the largest adult continuing education program in the United States; the first entirely student-run full-service record label in the US; and the only Wall Street trading room simulator at a public university in Florida. The Lifelong Learning Society operates programs that serve the educational interests of more than 19,000 senior citizens by providing classes focusing on subjects of specific interest, and audit options for regular university classes.[39] Under the university's Commercial Music Program, Hoot/Wisdom Recordings was created in 2002, enabling students to work in all creative and business aspects of the music industry. This program generated music that landed a Top 10 spot on the Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales Chart during its first week of release.[40][41] The university's two-story trading room simulator, located in the College of Business, provides hands-on financial education using 25 dual-monitor computers and can accommodate 50 people at one time. A second lab provides full audio/visual connectivity and 25 additional workstations. Florida Atlantic allows local financial businesses to use the Trading Room for training.[42]


Florida Atlantic is classified by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a research university with high research activity.[43] The university has established notable partnerships with major research institutions such as The Scripps Research Institute, the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, and the Max Planck Society.[8][44][45] Following construction of a sister institute on the Jupiter campus, Scripps operates out of a state-of-the-art research facility focusing on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development.[46] While its headquarters were under construction, Torrey Pines operated out of Florida Atlantic's nearby Port St. Lucie campus. Max Planck announced in July 2008 that it will establish its first institute in the United States adjacent to Scripps on Florida Atlantic's John D. MacArthur Campus. The Society will focus on bio-imaging.[45]

The university is the home of two centers of excellence: The Center of Excellence in Biomedical and Marine Biotechnology and The Center for Ocean Energy Technology. These centers have been selected by Florida’s Emerging Technology Commission to receive grants to continue and increase their operations. Florida Atlantic beat out some of Florida's top research universities, including the University of Florida and Florida State University, for the initial money from the state.[47]

The Schmidt Biomedical Science Center on Florida Atlantic's Boca Raton Campus

Since receiving its startup funding, Florida Atlantic has secured additional funds from other sources, including federal and private research grants. As a result, both centers have engaged in academic and industry partnerships, combining expertise in ocean engineering, marine biotechnology, functional genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics. Researchers, scientists, and students at the centers are designing technologies to explore the sea, harvest renewable energy, discover new medicines, and develop new therapeutics to combat agents of bioterrorism.[48][49] As a result of this research, in 2007 the university and Lockheed Martin announced an exclusive licensing agreement to develop and produce a rapidly deployable and autonomous mooring buoy system for military and scientific uses.[50]

The university houses both an Imaging Technology Center and a NASA Imaging Technology Space Center. Located in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the centers specialize in digital imaging research and development for use in both government and commercial applications in the areas of medical technology, surveillance, communications, education, inspection, scientific observation, manufacturing, visual recognition and identification, and motion picture and digital video. The Florida Atlantic Imaging Technology Center is developing a curriculum for digital imaging and processing, thereby establishing Florida Atlantic as the only university in the nation to offer this technical concentration.[51] The NASA Imaging Technology Center is one of 12 NASA Research Partnership Centers throughout the nation which develop dual-use research and development with the participation of NASA and other related industries in the US. The center occupies two sets of laboratories and administrative offices, one on Florida Atlantic’s main campus in Boca Raton, the other at the Fort Lauderdale campus.[49]

Florida Atlantic also operates two research and development parks, one in Deerfield Beach and one in Boca Raton. The R&D Parks provide outside research facilities for companies, which enable them to interact with the university community and its facilities, resources, and expertise. Located inside the R&D Park on the Boca Raton campus is a Technology Business Incubator. The incubator works to foster the start-up and growth of technology-based businesses associated with the university.[52]


For 2008, Florida Atlantic University was classified as a fourth-tier university by the U.S. News & World Report's rankings of "Best Colleges."[53] U.S. News ranks universities into one of four tiers, with one being the highest, based on how they compare with other colleges in a peer assessment, retention rates, student selectivity, faculty resources, financial resources, graduation rates, and the amount of alumni giving.[54] The university was named one of the 146 "Best Southeastern Colleges" in the United States by the Princeton Review.[55] The Review identifies colleges and universities that stand out with within each region of America.[56] The Princeton Review also recognized FAU's business program by naming the College of Business to their list of “Best 296 Business Schools” for 2009.[57] For 2007, Florida Atlantic was ranked 233rd in the nation by Washington Monthly, up from 240th in 2006.[58] The magazine based its rankings on the following three criteria: "how well a university performs as an engine of social mobility (ideally helping the poor to get rich rather than the very rich to get very, very rich), how well a university does in fostering scientific and humanistic research, and how well a university promotes an ethic of service to country."[59] The university was also ranked 28th in the United States and fourth in Florida by The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine for awarding 738 bachelor's degrees to Hispanic students during the 2006–2007 academic year.[60][61]


Florida Atlantic University is a distributed university located on seven campuses spread across Palm Beach, Broward, and St. Lucie Counties. The region is home to more than three million people.[5][62] The university's main campus is located in the City of Boca Raton in Palm Beach County. The county is also home to the John D. MacArthur Campus located in the City of Jupiter. In addition to its campuses in Palm Beach County, the university operates three campuses in the Broward County cities of Dania Beach, Davie, and Fort Lauderdale. Florida Atlantic University also operates two campuses in the St. Lucie County cities of Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce. In addition to students who attend classes on the universities campuses, there are 1,612 distance learning students who conduct their studies over the internet or through other means. These students account for 6% of the university's student body.[63]

Palm Beach County campuses

Boca Raton

The Village Apartments on the Boca campus

Florida Atlantic's main campus in Boca Raton was established on the remnants of a World War II American Army airbase in 1964. Spanning 850 acres (3.5 km²) near the Atlantic Ocean, the site is located between the cities of Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The campus was designated a burrowing owl sanctuary in 1971 by the Audubon Society. The owls find the campus appealing because there are few predators, due to the university's proximity to the Boca Raton Airport, and because the campus was originally cleared of vegetation when operating as an airbase during World War II. "The feisty bird, traditionally associated with wisdom and determination, serves as the university's mascot."[64]

The Boca Raton Campus is home to a wide variety of university programs and facilities. These facilities are labs and classrooms, housing for students, and athletic and recreational facilities.[65] In addition to academic and cultural programs, the campus also houses Florida Atlantic's Division One intercollegiate athletics program. The main campus serves approximately 19,077 students, or 70% of the university's student body, offering a number of academic programs, activities, and services.[2][63][65] In an effort to create a more traditional, first-choice college atmosphere on the Boca Raton Campus, the university is working to develop an "Innovation Village". Plans for the village call for new residence halls, workforce housing, restaurants, stores, parking garages, and a 30,000-seat college football stadium that will be home to the Owls football team. Florida Atlantic's project will be one of only two athletics/retail venues located on the campus of a Florida university; a similar Innovation Village-type project is located at the University of Central Florida.[66][67] The addition of the Innovation Village to the Boca Raton Campus has been controversial. Critics have argued the cost of the project is prohibitive and the money could be better spent on educating students or providing scholarships.[68] The construction of the stadium has also created a controversy between Florida Atlantic and the City of Boca Raton. In 2002, the university and the city signed an agreement requiring an additional I-95 interchange be under construction before a stadium could be built on campus. However, while the new interchange is still in the planning stages and will not be completed before the opening of the stadium, it appears both parties are willing to negotiate a resolution to the problem.[69] The Boca campus also houses a number of other programs, including the A.D. Henderson University School, FAU High School, one of two Florida Atlantic Research Parks, and the Lifelong Learning Society.

Jupiter – John D. MacArthur Campus

In addition to the Boca campus in southern Palm Beach County, Florida Atlantic operates a campus in northern Palm Beach County, in Jupiter. The John D. MacArthur Campus, named after businessman and philanthropist John D. MacArthur, was established in 1999 to serve residents of central and northern Palm Beach and southern Martin Counties. The MacArthur Campus occupies 45 acres (0.18 km²), upon which are eight classroom and office buildings, a library, a 500-seat auditorium, two residence halls, a dining hall, museum building, and utility plant.[70] The MacArthur Campus also houses the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, Scripps Florida, and the Max Planck Florida Institute. The campus serves approximately 1,262 students, or 4% of the university's student body.[63]

Broward County campuses

Heritage Park on the Boca Raton Campus

Dania Beach – SeaTech

The Dania Beach Campus, also known as SeaTech, was founded in 1997 as a state-funded Type II research center.[71] The institute is part of Florida Atlantic’s Department of Ocean Engineering which was founded in 1965 as the first ocean engineering undergraduate program in the nation. The campus is located on 8 acres (0.03 km²) of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. SeaTech is home to university faculty and students engaged in sponsored ocean engineering research and development in the areas of acoustics, marine vehicles, hydrodynamics and physical oceanography, marine materials and nanocomposites.[71] The Dania Beach Campus serves approximately 70 students, roughly 1% of the university's total student body.[63]


The Davie Campus of Florida Atlantic University was established in 1990 on 38 acres (0.15 km²) of land in western Broward County.[72] The campus features a multi-story student union with offices for student government and student organizations, a multipurpose area and student lounge, a bookstore, and cafeteria.[73] The union also contains a student health center that provides medical services and health counseling.[73] The campus serves approximately 3,488 students, or 13% of the Florida Atlantic student body, making it the university's second largest campus by enrollment.[63] Davie is also the home of "environmental research initiatives focused on Everglades restoration."[74]

Fort Lauderdale

The university has two buildings in Fort Lauderdale, both of which are considered part of one Fort Lauderdale campus. The Askew Tower and the Higher Education Complex on Las Olas Boulevard Campuses offer courses in communication, graphic design, business, computer arts, architecture, urban and regional planning, criminal justice, social work, journalism, and public administration.[75] The campuses are home to approximately 650 students or 2% of the university's student body.[63]

St. Lucie County campuses

Port St. Lucie – Treasure Coast Campus

Located in Port St. Lucie, Florida, the Treasure Coast Campus of Florida Atlantic University operates through a partnership with Indian River State College (IRSC). Since the 1970s, the university has been operating on the Treasure Coast in conjunction with IRSC to enable students to transition from an associate's degree to undergraduate and graduate degrees.[76]

Florida Atlantic purchased 50 acres (0.2 km²) of land in Port St. Lucie in 1994. The university operated in the existing infrastructure for eight years before joining with Indian River State College to open a joint-use facility. Both institutions continue to operate out of this 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) facility. The Treasure Coast Campus currently serves approximately 738 students, or 3% of the university's student body.[63]

Fort Pierce – Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

In addition to the Treasure Coast Campus, Florida Atlantic University operates a campus in Fort Pierce at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. Harbor Branch merged with the university in 2007 to become the HBOI at FAU.[2][3][24] The Florida Legislature allocated $44 million for the university to acquire the institution and its 600 acre (2.4 km²) campus.[25][77][78]


Florida Atlantic's 18 varsity sports teams, the Owls, compete in the NCAA's Division I Sun Belt Conference. The university's athletics program began in 1979, when Florida Atlantic first started sponsoring intercollegiate teams.[79] Since then, the university has worked to expand the quality of its intercollegiate program by attracting coaches such as Howard Schnellenberger, Matt Doherty, Rex Walters and Mike Jarvis. In 2006, the athletic department was ranked 79th in the nation by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Along with USA Today and the United States Sports Academy, NACDA recognized the university for its Division I athletic programs and accomplishments."[80] This ranking placed Florida Atlantic in the top 24% of 326 NCAA Division I universities.[80] The university's colors are FAU Blue, FAU Red, and FAU Silver.[4]

In 2008, the Florida Atlantic football team finished six wins and six losses in regular season play and was invited to the Motor City Bowl.[81] The Owls defeated Central Michigan University 24–21, increasing their bowl record to two wins and zero loses.[82] During the previous season, the football team beat Troy University in the final game of regular season play to become Sun Belt Co-Champions and receive an invitation to the New Orleans Bowl. In just the seventh year of the football program's history, and the third year playing in Division I, Florida Atlantic set NCAA records by both becoming the youngest program ever to receive an invitation to, and win, a bowl game.[83][84][85] As a result of the New Orleans Bowl the university has seen a surge in school spirit.[86]

In past seasons the Owls have garnered a number of accolades for their accomplishments. During the 2006–2007 season, the men's basketball team was noted as "one of the Sun Belt Conference's top offensive teams," with a "scary offense" that earned it the reputation of the "best shooting team in the conference."[87] The baseball team was also recognized by the NCAA as ranking in the Top 10 in five team categories. The team was also ranked third in the nation in home runs per game (1.66) and in slugging percentage (.563).[88]


Florida Atlantic students celebrating a basketball victory over rival Florida International in the Burrow

Since the inception of the athletics program, a number of sports-related traditions and school spirit organizations have been started at the university. A recent tradition known as "Bury the Burrow in Red" calls for Florida Atlantic students to wear as much red as possible and fill the Burrow, the university's multi-purpose arena, during the annual basketball game between Florida Atlantic and nearby Florida International University (FIU).[89] The official spirit group supporting Florida Atlantic athletics is the "prOWLers." The group began in February 2002 to support the men's basketball program during the team’s run for the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship. The group is funded by the Student Alumni Association, and can now be found at most sporting events cheering for Florida Atlantic.[90]

Another traditional competition between Florida Atlantic and Florida International is the annual Shula Bowl. This intercollegiate football game is named after legendary coach Don Shula; the game originates from the fact that both head coaches, Florida Atlantic's Howard Schnellenberger and former Florida International coach Don Strock, worked under Shula at some point during their careers. As a home game, the competition takes place at Sun Life Stadium; as an away game, the bowl is played at FIU Stadium in Miami.[64]

Student life

Residential life

Residential housing at Florida Atlantic University is available on the Boca Raton and John D. MacArthur campuses. "All full-time freshmen are required to reside in university housing," however, "exemptions from this policy are made for students who: are 21 or older by the first day of class, reside with parent(s) or legal guardian(s) within a 50-mile (80 km) radius of the Boca Raton [C]ampus, or are married."[91] As of 2008, 2,421 students (9% of the university body) live on-campus in Boca Raton.[2][92] The Wilkes Honors College on the MacArthur Campus requires all students live on-campus within its two residence halls, however, exceptions are made for students who are 26 years of age, married, or have dependent children.[93][94] As of 2008, there are 260 students (1% of the student body) residing on-campus at the honors college.[92]

The Heritage Park Towers, one of the newer dormitories on the Boca Raton Campus

Boca Raton's main on-campus housing facilities are: Algonquin Hall (opened 1965), Heritage Park Towers (opened 2004), Indian River Towers (opened 2001), and Glades Park Towers (opened 2007) which is a dormitory for freshmen nearly identical to Heritage Park Towers.[95] The university also offers upper-division undergraduate and graduate student housing in the Village Student Apartments, as well as a Business and Professional Women's Scholarship House for women with a strong academic background.[96][97] As part of the first phase of the Innovation Village project, Florida Atlantic has approved the construction of a 1,200 bed apartment-style housing facility for upperclassmen, graduate, and medical students. The facility is scheduled to open in Fall 2011.[98][1]

Within its existing residential life programs, Florida Atlantic offers a number of Learning Communities for freshmen and students with similar interests and concentrations. Participants meet people with similar interests, live on the same floor and take courses with others in their community, while receiving additional guidance related to those interests.[99] The university's Learning Community programs are divided into two categories, Freshman Learning Communities and Living Learning Communities. The freshman program offers 16 different concentrations, including business, nursing, and education. The Living program offers six concentrations for students residing in the Heritage Park Towers dormitory, including engineering and computer science and a Women's Leadership program.[99]

The university's Department of Housing and Residential Life and the university's fraternities and sororities sponsor a program for freshmen and other students returning to Florida Atlantic in the fall semester. This program, called the "Weeks of Welcome", spans 11 days and all campuses, and works to acclimate students with university life and to build a good on-campus community.[100] On each day, a number of different events are scheduled, including Hall Wars, which are athletic competitions between dormitories; Luaus, and a number of other events.[101] The Weeks of Welcome is the second largest campus-wide event held by Florida Atlantic.[100]

Campus organizations and activities

For the 2008–2009 academic year, Florida Atlantic had approximately 150 registered student organizations. Among the groups are academic organizations, honor societies, spiritual/religious organizations, diversity-appreciation organizations, service organizations, personal interest organizations, sports clubs, and student government agencies. These clubs and organizations run the gamut from sailing to Ultimate Frisbee, from varsity and club sports and a jazz group to a pottery guild, from political organizations to chess and video game clubs.[102] These organizations are funded by student tuition, from which $10.00 per credit hour goes toward an activities and service fee fund. This generates approximately $5.8 million that is then given to student government for allocation to student clubs and organizations. The student government also finances other student life programs, including career fairs, the University Press, OWL TV and Owl Radio, and Homecoming.[103]

Florida Atlantic's homecoming, also known as the "Owl Prowl," is celebrated annually in the fall semester. Events occur mainly on the Boca Raton Campus, but a number of other campuses host their own events as well. In the past, homecoming has had kickoff parties, costumed dances, bonfires, comedy shows, alumni events and dinners, a golf cart parade, and tailgating.[104][105][106]

Greek life

Florida Atlantic is home to 23 chapters of national fraternities and sororities, encompassing approximately 697 members or 3% of the undergraduate population.[107][108][109] These Greek organizations provide academic motivation, forums for education on various life issues, philanthropy and service to the community; contribute to the campuses through participation in campus life; and foster opportunities for people with similar values to engage in friendship.[110] The highpoint of Greek life at Florida Atlantic is "Greek Week." This event is held annually during the spring semester and showcases a number of themed competitions between the university's Greek organizations. There are currently no on-campus Greek houses.[111] However, a Greek Life Housing task force has been formed to explore various housing models, including the cost of construction, "and make recommendations on how to improve the overall quality of the Greek housing...."[112] Greek housing is planned for the upcoming Innovation Village complex.[113]


Florida Atlantic University has awarded more than 110,000 degrees to nearly 105,000 alumni worldwide since its opening. Some notable Florida Atlantic alumni are R. David Paulison, the former head of the United States' Federal Emergency Management Agency; and former university President Frank T. Brogan, a former Lieutenant Governor of Florida.[114][115] Charles Ghigna, also known as "Father Goose," is a poet, children's author, and nationally syndicated writer.[116] Judith Ortiz Cofer is an acclaimed Puerto Rican author whose works span a range of literary genres including poetry, short stories, and essays.[117] Other alumni are Chris Carrabba, the lead singer of the band Dashboard Confessional; and Phil Zimmermann, the creator of Pretty Good Privacy.[118][119] Entertainers Mary Carey, a pornographic actress and former candidate for Governor of California, and prop comedian Carrot Top also attended the university.[120][121] Alumnus and NASA astronaut Steven Swanson went to space aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis during STS-117 in June 2007, and Space Shuttle Discovery during STS-119 in March 2009.[122]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. http://www.nacubo.org/Documents/research/2009_NCSE_Public_Tables_Endowment_Market_Values.pdf. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
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