Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University
Motto "Where Tomorrow Begins"
Type Public
Established 1961
Endowment $209 million[1]
President John W. Kelly
Provost Gary W. Perry
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 30,808[2]
Undergraduates 24,687[2]
Postgraduates 4,670[2]
Address 777 Glades Road, 33431-0991, Boca Raton, Florida, Florida, U.S.
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[4]
Athletics NCAA Division IC-USA
19 varsity teams
Nickname Owls
Mascot Owlsley the Owl
Affiliations AACSB, NASULGC
Website www.fau.edu

Florida Atlantic University (also referred to as FAU or Florida Atlantic) is a public university located in Boca Raton, Florida, with five satellite campuses located in the Florida cities of Dania Beach, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter, and in Fort Pierce at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.[3] FAU belongs to the 12-campus State University System of Florida and serves South Florida, which has a population of more than five million people and spans more than 100 miles (160 km) of coastline.[5] Florida Atlantic University is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university with high research activity.[6] The university offers more than 180 undergraduate and graduate degree programs within its 10 colleges in addition to a professional degree from the College of Medicine.[7] Programs of study cover arts and humanities, the sciences, medicine, nursing, accounting, business, education, public administration, social work, architecture, engineering, and computer science.[7]

Florida Atlantic opened in 1964 as the first public university in southeast Florida, offering only upper-division and graduate level courses. Initial enrollment was only 867 students, increasing in 1984 when the university admitted its first lower-division undergraduate students.[8] As of 2012, enrollment has grown to over 30,000 students representing 140 countries, 50 states,[9] and the District of Columbia. Since its inception, Florida Atlantic has awarded more than 110,000 degrees to nearly 105,000 alumni.[2]

In recent years, FAU 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][10][11] Changes include an on-campus stadium, additional on-campus housing, and the establishment of a College of Medicine in 2010.[12]



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 Boca Raton Army Airfield, a 1940s-era army airbase. 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.[13] 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.[13]

President Johnson at the University's dedication

The 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. The airfield was composed of four runways, still visible on the Boca Campus today and mainly used for parking.

By early 1947, the military decided to transfer future radar training operations to Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. The departure of the air force in 1947 would leave Boca Raton Army Airfield essentially abandoned.

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.[14] At the time of its opening, there were 120 faculty out of a total of 350 employees. On-campus housing for students was first added in September 1965, when Algonquin Hall opened.[10][15]

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."[15]

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 opened its doors to lower-division undergraduate students. The following year, the university added its third campus, in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Las Olas Boulevard.

Recent history

Florida Atlantic University's Social Science Building, 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 (20 ha) 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. Following successive budgets deficits in 2007, the hospital delayed its participation indefinitely. However, Florida Atlantic later established its own College of Medicine in 2010.[16][17][18][19] The Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI) also joined the university in 2007, creating Florida Atlantic's seventh campus.[20] To bring HBOI into the university family the Florida Legislature allocated $44 million to Florida Atlantic to acquire the institution.[21]

Florida Atlantic has changed dramatically since its opening in 1964. As of 2013, there are more than 30,000 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. However, with the national economic recovery the endowment has increased to $179 million by the end of 2012.[22]

Since its founding, the university has been led by seven presidents. The university's immediate past president is Dr. Mary Jane Saunders. She was named president on March 3, 2010, then resigned on May 15, 2013. Her appointment followed 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. Past university presidents also included Dr. Anthony J. Catanese, Dr. Helen Popovich, Dr. Glenwood Creech, and Dr. Kenneth Rast Williams. On January 17, 2014, the Board of Trustees announced the selection of Dr. John W. Kelly, formerly a VP of Clemson University, to be the seventh president of the university with a starting date of March 1, 2014.



The NW 20th Street entrance sign, Boca Raton campus

As of fall 2013, the university's student body consists of 24,686 undergraduates, 4,666 graduate and professional students, 64 medical students, and 1,451 unclassified students.[2] As of 2013, the undergraduate student body contains 47% ethnic minorities and includes students from more than 180 countries,[23] 49 states, and the District of Columbia.[24][25] For the undergraduate class of 2012, the acceptance rate was 35% for first-time-in-college students. In 2016 Advance Registration begins.[26]

The university has ten colleges which altogether offer over 180 different bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs:[27] the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, College for Design and Social Inquiry, 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, and the Graduate College.[28]

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.[29] The Boca Raton campus houses the University Scholars Program, which offers special honors seminars, forums, courses, and advanced course substitution for freshmen.

In recent years, FAU has increased its admission requirements for prospective freshmen. The fall 2013 freshmen profile for the mid-50% includes 3.38-3.98 high school GPA, a 22-26 ACT composite score, and a 1520-1740 SAT total score.[30] Following a surge in the university's popularity, in early 2009, the university 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 to be considered for admission.[31]

The average class size at FAU for undergraduates is 33 students, and for graduate classes, 12 students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 20:1.[2][32] The top three undergraduate majors by enrollment are elementary education, accounting, and management, respectively. The top three graduate majors by enrollment are business administration, educational leadership, and accounting, respectively.[33] The average age for first-year students is 18; however, the average age for all undergraduates is 24 and the average age for graduate students is 33.[2] The average 4-year graduation rate for first-time, non-transfer students is 14% while the 6-year graduation rate is 39%.[34]

Florida Atlantic University has long ranked as the most racially, ethnically and culturally diverse institution in Florida's State University System. U.S. News & World Report has ranked FAU the 27th most diverse university in the nation.[35] Florida Atlantic University students come from all 50 states, every county in Florida, and more than 180 countries. Enrichment opportunities include internships, hands-on research, study abroad experiences, and 310 clubs and campus organizations.[36]

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.[37] 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.[38][39] 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.[40]


The Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine on Florida Atlantic University's Boca Raton campus

Florida Atlantic is classified by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a research university with high research activity.[41] 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.[11][42][43]

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.[44]

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.[45][46] 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.[47]

In 2010, the United States Department of Energy designated FAU as one of three national centers for ocean energy research and development. The Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center joins centers in the Pacific Northwest (University of Washington and Oregon State University) and in Hawaii (University of Hawaii). The Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center is undertaking research and development of technologies capable of generating renewable power from ocean currents and ocean thermal energy.[48]

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.[49] 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.[46]

Florida Atlantic is affiliated to the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, with properties in Deerfield Beach and Boca Raton. The Research Park provides outside research facilities for companies which enable them to interact with the university community and its facilities, resources, and expertise. The Research Park operates the Technology Business Incubator;[50] The incubator works to foster the start-up and growth of technology-based businesses, seeking to scale them and build relationships for them with the university. The Boca Raton campus is also home to the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, which includes the Machine Perception and Cognitive Robotics Laboratory


University rankings
Forbes[51] 515[52]
U.S. News & World Report[53] 205–270
Washington Monthly[54] 241

For 2013, Florida Atlantic University was classified as a second-tier university by the U.S. News & World Report's rankings of "Best Colleges."[55] U.S. News ranks universities into one of two 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.[56] The university was named one of the 146 "Best Southeastern Colleges" in the United States by the Princeton Review.[57][58] The Review also recognized FAU's business program by naming the College of Business to their list of "Best 296 Business Schools" for 2009.[59] For 2011, Florida Atlantic was ranked 249th in the nation by Washington Monthly.[60] 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."[61] 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.[62][63]


FAU's Living Room Theaters Complex, located in the Culture and Society Building in Boca Raton

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][64] 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.[65]

Florida Atlantic is a signatory of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. This commits the institution to ensuring all new construction projects meet the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards.[66] In 2011, The College of Engineering and Computer Science Building was LEED Platinum certified.

Palm Beach County campuses

Boca Raton

See also: FAU Stadium

Florida Atlantic University'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), 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."[67]

The Boca Raton campus is home to a wide variety of university programs and facilities. These facilities are labs and classrooms, housing for students, a 6,000-gallon shark tank for aquatic research, a movie theater, athletic and recreational facilities, and the student-run record label Hoot/Wisdom Recordings.[68] In addition to academic and cultural programs, the campus also houses Florida Atlantic's Division I 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][65][68]

The Boca Raton campus also houses a number of other institutions, including the A. D. Henderson University School, FAU High School, one of two Florida Atlantic University Research Parks, and the Lifelong Learning Society.

Jupiter – John D. MacArthur Campus

In addition to the Boca Raton campus in southern Palm Beach County, Florida Atlantic University 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.[69] 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.[65]

Broward County campuses

Dania Beach – SeaTech

The Dania Beach Campus, also known as SeaTech, was founded in 1997 as a state-funded Type II research center.[70] 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.[70] The Dania Beach Campus serves approximately 70 students, roughly 1% of the university's total student body.[65]


Senator James A. Scott Education and Science Building on the FAU Davie campus

The Davie Campus of Florida Atlantic University was established in 1990 on 38 acres (0.15 km²) of land in western Broward County.[71] 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.[65] 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.[72] The union also contains a student health center that provides medical services and health counseling.[72] Davie is also the home of "environmental research initiatives focused on Everglades restoration."[73] FAU colleges offering courses at the FAU Davie campus include Design and Social Inquiry; Arts and Letters; Business; Education; Nursing; and Science. The campus is located on Broward College's Central Campus. Students may enter BC as freshmen and graduate from FAU with undergraduate degrees in over 14 disciplines. More than 315,000 square feet of carefully designed classrooms, laboratories and faculty, staff and student offices are located on this campus along with a shared-use, 112,000 square-foot FAU/BC library designed for the 21st century.

Other support facilities include a shared Childcare Center, a student Wellness Center and a multi-service Student Union. The campus also offers a rich and varied program of student activities provided by the Division of Student Affairs. Students have all of the services they require for career counseling, wellness, testing and evaluation, tutoring, health services, student government and financial aid, among others. Like a small college within a large university, the Davie Campus is seen as a "model" branch campus for the state of Florida and the nation.[71]

Fort Lauderdale

The university has two buildings in downtown Fort Lauderdale, both of which are considered part of one Fort Lauderdale campus. The Askew Tower (AT) and the Higher Education Complex (HEC) on Las Olas Boulevard. The campus offers courses in communication, graphic design, architecture, and urban and regional planning.[74] The campus is home to approximately 900 students or 3.2% of the university's student body.[65]

St. Lucie County campuses

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][20] The Florida Legislature allocated $44 million for the university to acquire the institution and its 600 acre (2.4 km²) campus.[21][75][76]

Former Campuses

Port St. Lucie – Treasure Coast Campus

Treasure Coast Campus of Florida Atlantic University operated through a partnership with Indian River State College (IRSC). Florida Atlantic purchased 50 acres (0.2 km²) of land in Port St. Lucie in 1994. At the end of Spring 2012 class term, Florida Atlantic University ended offering classes at the Port St. Lucie campus.[77]


Main article: Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic's 18 varsity sports teams, the Owls, compete in NCAA's Division I. The Owls recently got in C-USA for the 2013–14 season. The university's athletics program began in 1979, when Florida Atlantic first started sponsoring intercollegiate teams.[78] 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."[79] This ranking placed Florida Atlantic in the top 24% of 326 NCAA Division I universities.[79] 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.[80] The Owls defeated Central Michigan University 24–21, increasing their bowl record to two wins and zero losses.[81] 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.[82][83][84] As a result of the New Orleans Bowl the university has seen a surge in school spirit.[85]

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."[86] In 2010, the men's basketball team defeated its first-ever Southeastern Conference opponent Mississippi State University 61–59[87] as well as Big East opponent the University of South Florida 50–42[88] en route to a 21–9 overall record and claimed the Sun Belt Conference title.[89]

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).[90] In 2010, the Owls baseball team was 37–24 (21–9) and claimed their first Sun Belt Conference regular-season title.[91]


The new "Rat's Mouth" student tailgating area located at the grassy area directly in front of the FAU Stadium.

Florida Atlantic University is home to a number of sports-related traditions and school spirit organizations.

Every fall before the first football game of the season, FAU's Student Government Association sponsors the "Annual Football Kick-Off Bonfire"[92][93] wherein the opposing team's mascot is burned in effigy. Also in football, Florida Atlantic challenges its rival Florida International (FIU) is the annual Shula Bowl. This intercollegiate football game is named after legendary coach Don Shula; so named because at the time of its inception, both head coaches, Florida Atlantic's Howard Schnellenberger and Florida International coach Don Strock, had worked under Shula at some point during their careers. Even though both universities have since moved on to new head coaches, the Shula Bowl is still played. As a home game, the competition takes place at university's own stadium; as an away game, the bowl is played at FIU Stadium in Miami.[67]

For basketball, Florida Atlantic celebrates a "Midnight Madness" pep rally that introduces fans to the team and coaches as well as inspires a number of basketball-related contests such as 3 Point Shoot Outs and Slam Dunk competitions.[94][95][96] During the regular season, the "Bury the Burrow in Red" event 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 rivalry game between Florida Atlantic and Florida International University.[97]

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.[98] The prOWLers are joined by the Owl Rangers,[99] a fan group that paints their bodies in the Florida Atlantic school colors. The hOWLetts are a student club that attend gameday events and assist in recruiting athletes.[100]

Since 2002, Florida Atlantic students have been using Owl Fingers (the "OK" hand sign) to show school pride and wish the athletic teams luck during football point after attempts (PATs) and basketball free throws.[101] The Florida Atlantic University Athletics Department has chosen to use Owl Fingers as part of its "Salute the Hoot" 2012 marketing campaign that encourages students to "proudly raise the hand salute that depicts the eyes of the owl, FAU's mascot."[102][103]

Student life

Residential life

Florida Atlantic University's Parliament Hall on the Boca Raton campus

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 campus, or are married."[104] As of 2011, 4,555 students live on-campus in Boca Raton.[2][105] 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.[106][107] As of 2011, there are 231 students residing on-campus at the honors college.[105]

Florida Atlantic University's Innovation Village student apartments on the Boca Raton campus

Boca Raton's on-campus housing facilities are: Algonquin Hall (opened 1965), Indian River Towers (opened 2001), Heritage Park Towers (opened 2004), Glades Park Towers (opened 2007), Parliament Hall (opened 2013), University Village Apartments (UVA), and Innovation Village Apartments (IVA) (opened 2011). Heritage Park and Glades Park Towers each offer 602 beds with 96 single rooms.[108] UVA and IVA exclusively serve upperclassmen while the other residence halls exclusively serve freshmen students, with Algonquin Hall serving all students. The university also offers upper-division undergraduate and graduate student housing in the Business and Professional Women's Scholarship House for women with a strong academic background.[109][110]

One of the newest residences on the Boca Raton campus is the Innovation Village Apartments (IVA), consisting of two buildings: IVA North and IVA South. It is a 1,200-bed apartment-style housing facility for upperclassmen, graduate, and medical students. It offers amenities that one would find in a high-rise apartment complex: lounges, retail dining, fitness centers, a pool/cabana, a volleyball court, common areas, and more. The facility opened in fall 2011.[111][112] FAU's newest residence hall is Parliament Hall, a lakeside freshmen housing facility offering 614 beds, a fitness center, lounges, retail dining, and views of the nearby Atlantic Ocean from top floors.[113]

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.[114] 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, computer science, and a Women's Leadership program.[114]

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.[115] 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.[116] The Weeks of Welcome is the second largest campus-wide event held by Florida Atlantic.[115]

Student housing

FAU residence halls[117] Year opened Students Accommodations
Algonquin Hall (ALG) 1965 95 All Students
Business Professional Women's Scholarship House (BPWSH) 1996 16 Female residence requiring dedicated application
Indian River Towers (IRT) 2001 611 Freshmen
Heritage Park Towers (HPT) 2004 603 Freshmen
Glades Park Towers (GPT) 2007 602 Freshmen
Parliament Hall (PAR) 2013 614 Freshmen
University Village Apartments (UVA) 1995 524 Upperclassmen
Innovation Village Apartments South (IVA-S) 2011 605 Upperclassmen
Innovation Village Apartments North (IVA-N) 2011 611 Upperclassmen
Total - 4,317 students -

Campus organizations and activities

For the 2010–2011 academic year, Florida Atlantic had approximately 300 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.[118] 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 $9 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.[119]

The "I love FAU" mural near student residence halls

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.[120][121][122] Florida Atlantic students have an organized football tailgating area known as the Rat's Mouth.[123] The name references the Spanish translation of Boca Raton.

Florida Atlantic completed an $18.6 million Recreation and Wellness Center in spring 2010. The facility houses an outdoor leisure and lap pool, a cardio equipment and free weight room, two multipurpose rooms, three indoor courts and health club-style locker rooms.[124] In 2011, the facility won the NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facilities Award. Other recreation facilities include a $4.2 million[125] track and field complex,[126] with synthetic turf (opened January 2007), a ropes challenge course[127] and the 6.5 acre Henderson Fields, utilized most often by the FAU Intramural Sports and Club Sports programs.[128]

Greek life

Florida Atlantic is home to approximately 28 chapters of national fraternities and sororities, encompassing approximately 1,077 members or 5% of the undergraduate population.[129][130] 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.[131] 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...."[132]


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:


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