2020 New College of Florida reunion is a success

By Su Byron

New College’s global alumni community joined together to celebrate the College’s 60th anniversary, mingle with faculty and students, and rekindle connections.

Alumni had the opportunity to attend lectures and talks, take guided campus tours, revisit academic divisions, and break bread together at the convivial New College/New Table community dinner in College Hall on Friday night.

“It was a remarkable celebration of everything New College,” said Dan Stults ’77, co-chair of the event. “Several generations of alumni joined to share stories, reconnect, celebrate their alma mater’s 60th anniversary, and enjoy the natural splendor of our beautiful campus. It was a powerful affirmation that our roots run deep, no matter where our individual journeys have taken us.”

According to Stults, the reunion afforded multiple opportunities to be inspired by New College alumni.

“An amazing number of graduates have gone on to lead lives of great achievement in the arts, the humanities, science, medicine and the law,” Stults said. “Their accomplishments are awe-inspiring.”

Stults added that alumni also learned about the legislative bill that is currently under consideration, which proposes combining New College with the University of Florida. Many alumni took advantage of the opportunity to write directly to their state legislators and express their support for preserving New College’s status as an independent, public liberal arts honors college.

Reunion highlights included a town hall event on Saturday morning with New College President Donal O’Shea; Felice Schulaner ‘78, chair of the New College Board of Trustees; Sue Jacobson, chair of the New College Foundation board; and Steve Jacobson, chair of the New College Alumni Association. During the event, alumni asked a variety of questions related to admissions, career preparedness, the academic curriculum, the importance of alumni giving, and the pending legislation in Tallahassee.

Many reunion participants also attended mini classes on Saturday morning, led by faculty members Miriam Wallace (“Extraordinary Bodies and Performing Humanness: From the Archives to Contemporary Disability Writing”); Emily Saarinen ‘97 (“Visual Arts and Spatial Ecologies”); and Matthew Lepinski (“How the Internet Works”).

O’Shea led a festive “Cheers to 60 Years of New College” on Saturday night, during which everyone raised a toast to retiring faculty member and former New College president, Gordon E. “Mike” Michalson Jr. The two-day event concluded with a fabulous sunset party on the Sarasota bayfront.


Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is the state's only legislatively designated Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in liberal arts and sciences, a master’s degree program in data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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