The 2017 Commencement of New College of Florida was held Friday, May 26, on the College's Bayfront.


The 2017 Commencement of New College of Florida was held Friday, May 26, on the College’s Bayfront.


George Lewis
George Lewis

This year’s Commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary degree was the noted composer and scholar, George E. Lewis, who is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. Read the full commencement address here.

The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (“genius grant”) in 2002, Lewis was made a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015, and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), a United States Artists Walker Fellowship (2011), an Alpert Award in the Arts (1999), and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis’s work in electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, and notated and improvisative forms is documented on more than 140 recordings. His book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press, 2008), received the American Book Award and the American Musicological Society’s Music in American Culture Award. Lewis is co-editor of the two-volume Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies (2016), and his opera “Afterword,” commissioned by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in October 2015 and has been performed in the United States, United Kingdom and the Czech Republic.

Lewis first visited New College in 2012, when he presented a lecture and participated in a panel discussion as part of New Music New College’s Meeting of the Minds Festival. New College is delighted to welcome him back to deliver our Commencement address.

Student Speaker

Amy Bernard
Amy Bernard

The student speaker was Amy Bernard, a Psychology/Theater AOC from Miami. Amy has been deeply involved in theatre and performance here at New College, serving on the board of Windmill Theatre Company since her first year. She is a member of the Comedy Friends improv group, which took fourth place in a national college comedy tournament in February, and is a member of the offshoot group Comedy Femmes.

Her thesis, a longitudinal study of actors in four theater projects on campus, found that participation in theater increased personal confidence, social confidence and community connection in students.

After graduation, she will be working with the Appel Farm Arts and Music Center in New Jersey, with a long-term goal of becoming a dramatherapist.


Photography and Video

GradImages will be photographing all graduates at the graduation ceremony. Visit their website,, and click on Pre-Event Registration. Enter your email and up to six emails of loved ones who would like to share in your accomplishment by viewing and ordering your photos. After graduation, order online at or call 800-261-2576.

A video of the ceremony will be available for purchase. Read more here.

Where to stay, where to go

General Parking – As you near campus from any direction, follow the many signs directing you to the parking area near College Hall.

Parking attendants will greet and assist you with parking. Handicap parking is available. When you arrive, please let the attendant know you require a handicap space. There will also be golf carts circulating to assist with transportation to the graduation tent. For questions related to the graduation ceremony, please call 941-487-4100.

Maps and Directions

Coming to New College? We have maps and directions.

Read more here


There are many great hotels close to the New College campus.

Read more here