Dr. Donal O'Shea

President, New College of Florida

Welcome to New College, Florida’s legislatively designated Honors College for the Liberal Arts.

At New College, students and faculty work together to engage the worlds that we humans inhabit – artistic, cultural, scientific and social – and the ideas and knowledge that comprise our intellectual inheritance. The College is an exciting place, one of challenge and learning, and a place where students pursue their own educational interests and goals in a directed, thoughtful, disciplined manner, and begin the lifelong process of finding vocations: things they love, things they are good at, and things that help others.

The transformative nature of the interactions among students, faculty and staff can be found only at a select handful of colleges around the country, and we are very proud to count ourselves among them. The clarity of our mission, the quality of our people, and the public/private partnership that lies at our heart, continue to sustain New College’s distinctive place within American higher education and continue to attract the bright, self-starting students who seek to claim their place in, and act on, our rapidly changing present.

We embrace our leadership role on the state and national scene, and invite you to explore, through our website, what makes New College a truly exceptional learning environment.

Donal O’Shea
President, New College of Florida


About the president

Donal O’Shea has been president of New College of Florida since 2012, where he has increased academic excellence and enhanced diversity and student life. He secured funding and oversaw planning for a new science building and for a cutting-edge master’s program in Data Science, New College’s first graduate program.  He aims to increase the enrollment of New College by 50 percent, with commitments from the state to fund proportionate increases in faculty, staff and facilities.

A firm believer in collaboration, O’Shea has helped develop a consortium of local colleges and universities to expand opportunities for all students.  He is the immediate past-president of the Southern University Conference, the president of the Florida Association of Colleges and Universities, and a member of the strategic planning committee of the national Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Prior to joining New College, O’Shea was the dean of faculty and vice president of academic affairs at Mount Holyoke College, the world’s oldest women’s college, for 14 years. While there, he was instrumental in founding Women’s Education Worldwide, a consortium of women’s colleges and universities around the world.

O’Shea earned an A.B. from Harvard University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Queen’s University, all in mathematics.  An internationally known mathematician, he continues to work with collaborators around the world.  His research interests center around singularities of higher dimensional algebraic surfaces, work which mixes algebraic geometry and differential topology and geometry. He has also published in a number of applied areas, including medical imagining, phase transitions, and mathematical physics.  He has won numerous awards for his work, most in recently in January 2016, when a groundbreaking, now classic, book he wrote with two colleagues was awarded the coveted Steele prize by the American Mathematical Society.