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 O‘Shea 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 College‘s students choose their own courses of study on a very individualized basis. O‘Shea 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 GPA‘s. “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.
O‘Shea boasts that 80% of the school’s graduates go on to graduate school, with 16% of the graduates earning PhD‘s in science and engineering and representing a large proportion of Florida‘s 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. O‘Shea 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.
O‘Shea 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.” O‘Shea 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 Queen‘s University, all in mathematics. He is an internationally known mathematician and has won numerous awards for his work. O‘Shea 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.