“A tiny place but an amazing institution”

From www lbknews.com Friday, March 22, 2019

 New College exists to prepare intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement.

Chartered in 1960 and located on a beautiful site on Sarasota Bay near the Ringling mansion and the Sarasota­ Bradenton International Airport , New College of  Florida is proudly described by its President as a tiny place , but an amazing institution. Donal OShea enlightened the members of the Rotary Club of Longboat Key at their March 19th meeting , sharing with them the story of the public liberal arts honors college which is the smallest school in Florida’s 12-institution state university system.

With just 850 students and a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, New Colleges students choose their own courses of study on a very  individualized basis. OShea explained, “They find their own paths , and they are wonderfully curious, as he described the school as a graduate school for undergraduates.”  Students are graded” by narrative evaluations, and there are no GPAs. New College exists to prepare intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement,” he stated , adding that achievement” is defined in a very personal and individualized manner by each student.

OShea boasts that 80% of the school’s graduates go on to graduate school, with 16% of the graduates earning PhDs in science and engineering and representing a large proportion of Floridas scientists.  One-quarter of all Fulbrights awarded in Florida go to New College kids,: he reported; the Fulbright Scholars Program is a well-recognized and prestigious international program that grants support for graduate study and research in more than 140 countries. OShea described the school’s cutting-edge Masters program in Data Science, calling the specialty the new liberal arts .. . a hot area.” Fifteen students are currently enrolled in the two-year program that includes heavy focus on computer science, mathematical optimization, and statistics.

OShea would like to see the student population of New College grow to 1200 students so that it can offer more disciplines for study. Calling the faculty members a “very interesting group of scholars,” he claims that most of those dedicated scholars live and die to teach.” OShea has been President since 2012. Prior to that , he served as Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA for 14 years. He earned his A.B. from Harvard University and his M.S. and PhD from Queens University, all in mathematics. He is an internationally known mathematician and has won numerous awards for his work. OShea has published in a number of applied areas, including medi­cal imaging and mathematical physics.

To learn more about New College, visit www.ncf.edu. To learn more about the Rotary Club of Longboat Key, visit www.longboatkeyrotary.org.



Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 800 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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