More than a year in the making, the New College Challenge is a bold design endeavor created to excite and engage the college and community in envisioning a more vibrant campus and campus life for New College. New College partnered with six world-class design schools from top universities to reimagine a future campus that cultivates students into trailblazing problem-solvers and leaders.

Designs Now On Exhibit

The discoveries and ideas of the partner university design teams are now part of a public exhibition at Architecture Sarasota (265 S. Orange Avenue) – a partner throughout the Challenge.

Exhibition Hours:

  • Summer Hours (beginning May 21, 2023): Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 1:00 to 4:00 pm (except federal holidays)
  • Fall Hours (beginning September 11, 2023): Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm (except federal holidays)

The Challenge Process

The New College Challenge is a testament to the university’s commitment to continuous improvement and its dedication to providing its students with a top-notch education experience. 

One key aspect of the New College Challenge is the incorporation of external perspectives and examining the university’s operations and initiatives through outside lenses of its partner institutions.

All six universities presented their compelling designs to the New College campus and surrounding community May 12, 2023

The following day, May 13, 2023, the New College Challenge Exhibition opened at Architecture Sarasota where leaders from the partner universities participated in a panel discussion led by Challenge Co-Chair Dr. David Brain.

Final Design Presentations (May 12, 2023)

Kean University

Syracuse University

University of Florida

University of Miami

University of South Florida


How Did We Get Here?

The New College Challenge grew from an idea in late November 2021 to a series of plans, programs and research. New College formed a team of faculty, staff and students to lead the initiative, seated a high level advisory committee and engaged the college and local community and a host of experts in the process. New College taught a class of its own that began in Fall 2022 which supported the work of the partnering academic teams. 


Challenge Launch Week

A week of events launched the New College Challenge, beginning with a community Kickoff Brunch on the Bayfront on Oct. 25, 2022, New Topics lecture with Harvard professor Chris Reed, and the Designing for Resilience Symposium.

Watch the Symposium LivestreamLearn more about Launch Week Events

Spring Classes and University Partner Visits

Our academic partner institutions began teaching their design studio classes on New College in January, 2023. In early February, five of six nationally renowned design leaders brought their students to campus as part of their Spring architecture studio courses to inform their coursework. As part of their visit, the academic teams jump-started their creativity with a one-day design exercise - known as a charrette – that focused on improving the New College campus.

The design teams were given one of three categories to focus on: Bayfront Activation; Collaboration, Creativity and Community Core; Reimagining Pei. On Saturday, February 4th, the teams presented their early designs in an interactive exercise with the campus and community, which boasted strategies and mechanisms to address various environmental factors that affect us all region-wide.

These 8 design presentations below– developed in collaboration by students from Kean University, New College, Syracuse University, University of Florida, University of Miami and the University of South Florida – are just an example of the campus innovation being developed for New College by the Challenge academic teams.

Early Design Ideas From February 2023

Bayfront Activation: Connecting Caples Campus

Bayfront Activation: Engaging Students & Community with an Interactive, Living Shoreline

Collaboration, Creativity and Community Core: Shade Clustering & Collaboration

Collaboration, Creativity and Community Core: Shelter, Food & The Forest

Collaboration, Creativity and Community Core: Campus Nodes & Quads – A New Campus Focal Point

Reimagining Pei: Pei’s Ripple Effect – Transformation of the Pei Dorms

Reimagining Pei: Enhancing Community

Reimagining Pei: Phasing Out Pei Campus Into The Bayfront & Caples Campus

As a continuation of this phase of the New College Challenge, students from Yale University visited the campus March 13th-15th, and presented their mid-term work to New College faculty, staff, and students.

All the university partner teams completed their designs at the end of their Spring Semester and the team leaders returned to New College May 12-13, 2023 for final presentations (above).

What’s Next?

New College will use the designs to inform a new campus plan to match an enhanced curriculum. The public exhibition of the designs will be on display at Architecture Sarasota throughout 2023.

Student Leadership

The Planning for Campus Resilience Challenge academic course at New College invited students to play a central role in shaping the future of their campus, explore practical responses to rising sea levels in coastal communities, and develop leadership skills for collaborative problem solving in diverse communities.  

From its inception New College students have been integral leaders involved in the Challenge.

The Challenge Model

The New College Challenge is modeled after two endeavors in the Northeast: “Envision Resilience: Nantucket Challenge” and “Envision Resilience: Narragansett Bay”. Learn more at


Donate to Support the Challenge

We often hear that it takes money to make money. It’s true. The Challenge is an expensive endeavor, but it is a collaborative undertaking that is designed to elevate our campus and community, both regionally and nationally. Yes, it’s an ambitious undertaking for our small school, but together we can have an impact that reaches well beyond our area. This Challenge is a collective investment in our future–can you help us seize this moment? Donate

Challenge Advisory Council

Bill Dudley Former President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of New York New College Alumnus
Ann Darby Former Vice President, JP Morgan Chase
Bob Essner Former Chairman & CEO, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals
Norm Worthington Former Founder & CEO, Star2Star Chairman, Sangoma Technologies Corp New College Alumnus
Janet Doyle Former President & CEO, Kramer Junction Company

Contact Us

The New College Challenge

Email Address

Thank you to our Challenge Sponsors

Jake Short, ‘87

Kathleen Binnicker Swann Foundation