By Su Byron
Nearly 400 people gathered on the New College campus for the 41st annual Clambake, the College’s signature fundraising event. Guests enjoyed the beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, invigorating company, and an inspired feast on the idyllic Bayfront campus.
They also gathered to celebrate New College’s faculty and students who comprise its community of scholars. This year’s Clambake netted a remarkable $318,000.
“We are grateful to everyone who made this year’s Clambake a success,” said MaryAnne Young, executive director of the Foundation. “You are here because you believe in New College -— and the future of our students. And you’ve backed that belief with a legacy of support year after year. With every accomplishment by a New College graduate, scholarship donors can feel pride and a sense of participation in having made that possible.”
President Donal O’Shea introduced Jas Marie, a third-year biology/sociology student at New College, who spoke about how scholarships made secondary education possible for her as a first-generation college student and proved that her past doesn’t define her future.
“Education wasn’t supposed to be attainable for me. To understand what I mean by this requires a deeper explanation of who I am and where I come from,” Jas told the audience. She then recounted the arduous path she took to get to New College.
“I’m astonished at how far New College pushes me to succeed. Without its unique academic program, I wouldn’t have dreamed of being an intern at Cornell,” said Marie. “The support I’ve received here has helped my dreams come true. So, if the question ‘am I making a difference’ ever crosses your minds, the answer is a solid yes. I wouldn’t be standing here before you without scholarships. Scholarship made secondary education possible and proved that my past doesn’t define my future. Because my future? Oh, it’s looking pretty bright!”
Robert Blalock, a former Foundation board member and the person who thought up and created Clambake over four decades ago, was honored at the event for providing the inspiration to establish Clambake and his extensive service to New College of Florida.
The evening concluded with remarks from co-chairs Pam Daniel, special projects editor for Sarasota Magazine, and George Augustin, a member of the Foundation’s board of directors. Both said they were thrilled to co-chair, “Sarasota’s longest-running and most beloved fundraiser, especially since every penny we raise tonight goes toward scholarships for New College students,” Daniel said. “Some of the most gifted students in the country —- and the world -— choose to attend New College, and about 90 percent of them receive financial aid. The scholarships you are generously helping to fund enable them to embark upon lives of intellectual curiosity and groundbreaking careers.”
“Scholarships are vital in making New College attractive to the best and brightest students, regardless of financial status,” said Young, adding that while New College is public, state funding covers only a portion of what is needed to preserve it as an exemplary institution. “The New College Foundation raises private funds through philanthropy, providing over $2 million annually for student scholarships, faculty and student research, academic excellence, and campus enhancements. New College graduates consistently go on to make remarkable contributions in our community and beyond. With every accomplishment by a New College graduate, scholarship donors can feel pride and a sense of participation in having made that possible.”
For more information about scholarships, contact the New College Foundation at 941-487-4800 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Su Byron is a communications specialist with the New College Foundation.