Florida Atlantic University, created in 1961 by act of the Florida Legislature, went into operation in 1964 as the first university in the nation serving upper-division and graduate students exclusively. The University was dedicated on October 25, 1964, by President Lyndon B. Johnson, becoming one of the few American institutions of higher learning to be so honored by a sitting President of the United States. Twenty years later, in 1984, FAU became a four-year university when the first freshman class was admitted.
Today, more than 115,000 men and women are FAU alumni, and the University enrolls 28,000 degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites along South Florida's Atlantic Coast. In addition to the original 850-acre campus in Boca Raton—land that was once a U.S. Army Air Field and is an Audubon Society-designated burrowing owl sanctuary—FAU serves students at locations in Dania Beach, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, Jupiter and Port St. Lucie. The University is organized into 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU has fully funded Eminent Scholar Chairs in academic areas that include engineering, business, community education, the arts, social science, nursing, marine biology, philosophy, Holocaust studies, Judaic studies, brain science and growth management.
Playing an important part in furthering the mission of the University are a number of centers dedicated to specific academic or research pursuits. For example, FAU's Center for Ocean Energy Technology (COET)—which was founded in 2006 as a Florida Center of Excellence to explore methods of harnessing energy from ocean currents—was recently designated a national center for ocean energy research and development by the U.S. Department of Energy. The new center, known as the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at FAU joins centers in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii that also work to advance the operational readiness of ocean energy technologies. Additionally, the University recently brought the pioneering Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute under the umbrella of FAU as a research center.
The University has been home to the valuable research of the Center Complex Systems and Brain Sciences since its founding in 1985, the Center for the Study of Values and Violence after Auschwitz and a number of lab/charter schools that use the latest in education methods and research to teach thousands of elementary to high-school age students. FAU also houses one of the world's finest American Revolution-era document collections.