A Vital Diagnosis of New College's Progress

Guest Correspondence

Photo courtesy New College of Florida.

The discourse surrounding New College of Florida frequently fixates on the trajectory of declining student enrollment over the past decade, culminating in the abrupt transition of the board of trustees and the appointment of a new president in 2023. However, the reality paints a different picture: New College stands as a resilient institution, burgeoning with vitality with each passing day.

In an era where institutions are closing their doors at an alarming rate, we have not only weathered the storm but we are emerging stronger than ever before. The visionary support from Florida’s Legislature and the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis have been pivotal, sparking significant progress, regenerating and rejuvenating our campus.

This transformative journey commenced with an unprecedented injection of resources from the Florida Legislature and Governor DeSantis. The fruits of this collective effort have manifested in tangible progress, fortifying our campus infrastructure and priming it for an era of expansion. We stand poised to ascend to greater heights in the forthcoming academic year of 2024-2025.

Enrollment figures tell an amazing turnaround story. After achieving record enrollment in our 2023 class, the 2024 class is up almost 200% from this time a year ago, foretelling the prospect of having another breakthrough year for student recruitment.

Detractors have speculated about a purported exodus of faculty across the state, yet such conjecture finds no footing here. New College has conducted rigorous searches for tenure-track positions, visiting professors, and scholar-in-residence positions this spring. Look for an announcement soon introducing over 40 esteemed educators and scholars from diverse corners of the nation. 

Similarly, concerns regarding the obsolescence of our academic accolades, notably our distinction as a top producer of Fulbright Awards and the proportion of graduates pursuing doctoral studies, are unfounded. We anticipate the conferment of at least two new Fulbright Awards this year, with continued robust aspirations for doctoral pursuits among our students and alumni.

As an institution of honors, we embrace the imperative of offering graduate programs. Our esteemed faculty in the field of biology have expediently laid the groundwork for the launch of a pioneering Masters in Marine Mammal Science program this fall, with additional graduate-level offerings under development.

The integration of intercollegiate athletics has been pivotal in revitalizing New College, aligning us with the venerable tradition of esteemed liberal arts institutions. Our varsity sports program will witness exponential growth this fall, with the addition of men’s and women’s golf, lacrosse, and volleyball—setting us apart as the sole member of the State University System of Florida to field a varsity men’s lacrosse team.

As we near the conclusion of the academic year and prepare to usher a new cohort of graduates into the world, New College stands as a beacon of vitality, steadfast in its commitment to excellence. We assert with conviction that New College is poised to emerge as the preeminent liberal arts college in America.

Richard Corcoran is president of New College of Florida.

Photo courtesy New College of Florida.

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