New College brings student scholarship recipients and donors together

By Linda Joffe

The annual luncheon event brought together students and generous donors.

New College student scholarship recipients and donors gathered at the New College Foundation’s Keating Center on Wednesday, April 10, to celebrate student scholars and the generous supporters who funded their scholarships.

New College President Donal O’Shea announced that the college awarded nearly $900,000 in private scholarships through the foundation this academic year. Additionally, the college distributed $51,000 in grant funding for student travel and research.

“Approximately 90 percent of our students require some form of financial aid,” O’Shea noted. “The needs are particularly great among first-generation, minority and non-Florida students.”

The annual luncheon event featured two student speakers who described what brought them to New College, what makes their educational experience unique, and how scholarships enabled them to fulfill their dreams.

Third-year computer science student Parankush Bhardwaj spoke about being the architect of his own education. “At New College, I learned how to make my first app because of an independent study project,” he said. “I became better at it because of tutorials, where I met weekly one-on-one with professors to learn how to build more accessible software.”

Bhardwaj interned at Express Scripts last summer, working to develop software that helps patients with chronic illnesses manage their symptoms. This summer, he will build software that helps farmers reduce waste at Climate in San Francisco.

Fourth-year student Cassidy Heaton
Fourth-year student Cassidy Heaton

Fourth-year student Cassidy Heaton recalled starting her academic career at the University of Chicago before New College, which she had visited as a high school student.

“New College has done more for me than I can put into words,” said Heaton. “I have found my people here – students who are just as passionate, driven and excited about the future as I am, and professors who inspire and empower me every single day.

“It feels sometimes like a hundred things had to fall into place in order for me to be here, but one of the most critical pieces is also one of the easiest to overlook,” continued Heaton, who will graduate next December with a concentration in biopsychology. “Without significant financial aid and scholarship contributions, I would never have been able to come to New College. The contributions of donors make it possible for me, and other students like me, to be here. I will always be grateful, and I know I will pay it forward. I can’t wait to show you what I can do.”

“The impact you have made on the lives of our student scholars is a catalyst for future inventors, scholars, entrepreneurs and more,” President O’Shea concluded.

For more information about scholarship support or other ways to give, contact the New College Foundation at 941-487-4800, or email

— Linda Joffe is a communications specialist at the New College Foundation.

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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