A Message from Interim President to the New College Campus Community

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- by Interim President Richard Corcoran

New College Campus Community,

I write to you today, one week after I started here at New College.  I have had the honor of getting to know our campus, our trustees and many of our faculty, staff and students and as we start this journey together, I look forward to meeting all of you and having the opportunity to hear what you love about New College and what you hope to see in the future.

As I send this message to you all today, I am in Tallahassee for the start of the legislative session.  I am here on the heels of the recently announced $15 million commitment to the future of New College and to talk to lawmakers about what we envision for the new path of New College.  In the past, New College’s existence has always been threatened and on shaky ground, but now, with the start of the session, I am confident that our future is secure, and growth and success are inevitable.

I know many of you have questions about what that future will be, and I understand that with change comes uncertainty, and uncertainty can be unsettling.  But I want to assure you that we will be thoughtful in considering potential changes and there will be opportunities for the voices of students, faculty, and staff to be heard. First and foremost, I want you all to know that we have no plans to fire tenured faculty and current students should be confident that they will continue to be able to pursue their goals in the traditional academic system of the college. We will seek to make New College better through building on the best elements of the current system while adding more opportunities and possibilities for current and future students.

In the coming weeks, we will be performing a full evaluation of all aspects of the education system at New College. All voices – faculty, students, and staff – will certainly be heard and I welcome your engagement, thoughtful debate, and active participation in determining our future path.  I want New College to serve as a beacon of free speech, free inquiry, and free debate in Florida and beyond.

Together, we will seek to develop programs that provide an intellectual grounding that is increasingly rare in higher education. We will also be inviting speakers and supporting conferences at the college that will introduce new voices into the discussion.  It is my goal that we pursue a policy of addition rather than subtraction. We will seek to add more dorms, a new student center, and new facilities to make New College a better place to live, study, and grow.  We will add new students, especially those who feel unsatisfied by the current options in higher education in Florida and across the country.  We will also add new faculty, particularly faculty who are trained in and enthusiastic about an excellent liberal arts education.

I understand that many of you have read news articles and other publications that have attempted to frame a narrative about what New College is now, and what it should be in the future. I ask that you read the article in our local paper where I was given the opportunity to share my vision, in my own words and without editorial context or framing.  In the coming weeks and months, I hope to discuss my vision more with each of you as we chart a new path together.  

Thank you for your time, your openness, and your willingness to listen. I pledge to do the same every day as president of New College.  I am committed to your future, your success, and the success of New College for years to come.

Richard Corcoran
Interim President