About the President

Dr. Donal O’Shea President, New College of Florida

Dr. Donal O’Shea
President, New College of Florida

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.

Selected Published Articles

President O’Shea strives to keep New College in the public eye, contributing a column to SRQ Magazine and writing a number of op-eds in the local press and beyond. Here are some examples.

SRQ Magazine

The Origin of an Idea (Feb. 10, 2018)
The Data Revolution (Jan. 13, 2018)
Trigger Warnings (Dec. 9, 2017)
The Energy of Youth (Nov. 11, 2017)
Colleges — Hurricanes and Trauma (Oct. 14, 2017)
Science — New College and the Public Square (Sept. 9, 2017)
These United States of Science (Aug 12, 2017)
The Tyranny of GPAs (June 10, 2017)
Spring and Fellowships (April 8, 2017)
Childhood Arrivals (March 11, 2017)
Mental Health and the University (Feb. 11, 2017)
Space — Time and Ignorance (Dec. 10, 2016)
The Long Project (Nov. 12, 2016)
Humanities on the Creative Coast (Oct. 8, 2016)
The Liberal in Liberal Arts (Sept. 10, 2016)
The Lunacy of Online Hype (July 9, 2016)
Metaphor and Baggage (June 11, 2016)
The Bittersweet Season of Graduation (May 14, 2016)
The University of the Future is Here (April 9, 2016)

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Activism, Free Speech and Values of New College (March 1, 2018)
Universities’ Role in an Innovation Economy (Dec. 7, 2017)
Growth for New College Greatness for All (April 27, 2017)
Graduation and Confidence (May 26, 2017)
Bias Series Misuses Data (Dec. 14, 2016)

Bradenton Herald

New Faculty Boosts Manatee-Sarasota’s Intellectual Capital (Nov. 18, 2017)
Mellon Grant Exemplifies Creative Potential of Consortium of Colleges (Feb. 11, 2017)
The Soul of a University — The Faculty (Oct. 1, 2016)

Inside Higher Ed

What’s Wrong With Too Many Required Courses (June 27, 2017)

Inaugural Address

Read his Inaugural Address of February 15, 2013.