In 1955, the Florida Legislature authorized establishment of Florida's fifth public university to serve the southeastern region of the state. Boca Raton banker Thomas F. Fleming Jr. worked with a number of associates including U.S. Senator George Smathers and U.S. Congressman Paul Rogers to petition the Civil Aeronautics Administration, in order to secure the vacated 1,250 acre U.S. Army airbase in Boca Raton for the site of the university. This proposal was unanimously endorsed in 1957 by the Florida Board of Control. In 1960 the Florida Board of Education approved building the university in Boca Raton. The Brumbaugh Report, prepared in 1961 by a Board of Control committee, called for innovative thinking in the planning of the university, which it said could pioneer a new model of higher education, an institution that would take full advantage of rapidly developing television and computer technology while serving juniors, seniors and graduate students exclusively, in partnership with community colleges. On July 15, 1961 the Florida Legislature authorized establishment of the nation's first university to offer only upper-division and graduate work, with a service area extending up the Florida east coast from Key West to Cape Canaveral. The Board of Control selected the name Florida Atlantic University in 1962, at the same time naming Dr. Kenneth Rast Williams, then president of Dade County Junior College, as president; groundbreaking took place December of that year. Florida Atlantic University opened on September 14, 1964, six days behind schedule due to Hurricane Cleo. U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson dedicated the University on October 25, 1964. Dr. Williams was formally inaugurated as the University's first president on November 12, 1964.
From the guide to the Historical Files, 1959-1964, (Special Collections and Archives, S.E. Wimberly Library, Florida Atlantic University)