An issue of grave concern, autism affects one in 150 children born in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Ed Scott recalls when his son, Reece was diagnosed with autism at age four and later re-diagnosed with a mild form of Asperger's Syndrome. There were few resources then to help them. Therefore, Scott saw the need and a university that he thought was already heading in the right direction.
"While many universities and institutes were looking at the causes of autism, there was little happening in the area of researching the best treatments," said Scott. "I met with Mary Beth Kenkel (dean of the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts) and was convinced that Florida Tech had some interesting programmatic ideas on how to help these children and their families."
Scott and his wife, Cheryl, provided the initial funding for the Scott Center for Autism Treatment. The center provides services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, training for parents, teachers and other professionals and research on effective treatments for autism.
Ruth Funk is a woman with a passion and a dream. For years she has collected textiles from around the world and hand-crafted one-of-a-kind coats that have become her signature art.
"I have always wanted a place to preserve rare textiles, exhibit world textiles, teach textile arts and expose people to the value of cultures and cloth," said Funk.
The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts is the only such facility in Florida and houses Funk's textile collection along with other donated traditional hand-made textiles, embroidery, garments and related accessories spanning the early-19th to mid-20th centuries. Themed exhibits are unveiled several times a year with lectures and programs fashioned around the theme.
Emil Buehler, a visionary in aviation, engineering and architecture, emigrated from his native Germany following World War I to pursue his career. He operated his own school of aeronautics at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport, ran a seaplane base on the Hudson River and built an aviation facility at the Executive Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Buehler Trust was established in 1984 in memory of Emil Buehler and his commitment to aviation science and technology.
The Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust generously provided Florida Tech with $1.5 million to fund a new operations center for the College of Aeronautics to run its training facility. At Melbourne International Airport, the Emil Buehler Center for Aviation Training and Research includes a simulator room, multipurpose/training room, lobby with displays to showcase Florida Tech's aviation achievements, student lounge with airfield viewing, instructors lounge, conference and briefing rooms, weather/flight planning room and general operation offices. Trustee George Weaver represented the Trust at the building dedication and commented, " This project is a great example of the future of general aviation." The center will prepare future generations in the field of aviation for many years to come.
The most recent gift of the $5 million for the Harris Center for Science and Engineering from the Harris Corp. Charitable Fund, held by the Community Foundation of Brevard is proof of unwavering decades of belief in Florida Institute of Technology. For 50 years, Florida Tech has benefited from the generosity and sage counsel of the leaders of Harris Corp. and its predecessor, Radiation Inc. Harris founders Homer Denius and George Shaw, and executives throughout the years, Joe Boyd, Jack Hartley, Phil Farmer, and most recently, Howard Lance, have given generously to the university, both professionally and personally. Their gifts exemplify individual and corporate civic responsibility.