Fowler and Heystek: Making a Difference 30 Years Later

via Florida Tech Today

Little did Clarke Fowler ’80, ocean engineering, and Deborah Heystek ’79, biology, imagine when they met in the Jungle at Florida Institute of Technology in 1975, that they would end up back in Brevard County, married, and becoming active alumni making a difference on campus 30 years later. Both had great experiences at FIT (as it was called in the ’70s) and established enduring friendships.

“Many of our very best friends today are people we met while at FIT,” says Clarke.

Fowler has worked for Harris Corp. for the past 14 years, and currently does avionics development for defense systems. He has continued his involvement with the College of Engineering, participating on their board of advisers, supporting various events and serving as a judge for the annual Northrop Grumman Engineering and Science Student Design Showcase.

Heystek worked for a research institute and defense contractors as a software architect doing modeling and simulation (wargaming) and is currently pursuing her dream as an entrepreneur, creating her own line of clothing from South African fabrics. She is a member of the alumni board and active on the Botanical Garden Committee, which hosts the annual Botanical Fest. She also serves as an alumni adviser to the Squamish fraternity and created the Squamish Scholarship Endowment to help fund deserving students at Florida Tech. This scholarship fund is very close to reaching the $25,000 level, where it is fully endowed, and an annual scholarship will be awarded.

“The Squamish Scholarship has been funded by past and present Squamish Brothers and will serve as a legacy to the organization,” says Heystek.

Together, in 2007, they decided another way they could give back to Florida Tech was by establishing a bequest. The Fowler-Heystek bequest will benefit engineering, by funding the creation of a student lab in their name.

“We both value the education we received at FIT and recognize the importance of continued investment in infrastructure, equipment and technology. We hope that through our bequest future engineers are inspired in a lifelong passion for science and engineering,” says the couple.

“FIT is a unique place and tends to attract rugged individualists. That may be one of the things I like best about it,” says Heystek.

“My experience at FIT enabled me to pursue a career I truly enjoy,” says Fowler.

To explore ways your family can make a positive impact at Florida Tech, visit or contact Beverly Sanders at (321) 674-6155 or

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