April 5, 2011 – New College of Florida will salute former Florida State Sen. Bob Johnson on April 15, 2011, at a special ceremony for his lifelong service and dedication to preserving the excellence and integrity of New College. The ceremony begins at 4 pm at the new Robert and Beverly Koski Academic Plaza at the corner of College Drive and Bay Shore Road.
The event features the unveiling of the College’s new Four Winds sculpture, which will be dedicated to Johnson during the ceremony. City of Sarasota Mayor Kelly Kirschner and Sarasota County Commissioner Jon Thaxton will read proclamations recounting Johnson’s countless contributions to the College, and New College President Mike Michalson, Trustee Bob Peterson and other dignitaries will speak about the senator’s important role in the College’s history.
Johnson began his affiliation with New College in the early 1970s playing a critical role in helping the College join the State University System in 1975 when flagging finances threatened to close down the formerly private college. He also helped New College achieve independence in 2001 as the 11th freestanding member of the State University System. Johnson also helped procure funding for the Jane Bancroft Cook Library, the Heiser Natural Sciences Complex and numerous other facilities on campus. He is currently chair of the New College Board of Trustees.
“The Four Winds” sculpture was designed by renowned sculptor Bruce White, whose granddaughter attends New College. The sculpture stands nearly 18 feet tall and spans 15 feet across. Funds for its construction were provided by friends, colleagues and supporters of Johnson in commemoration of New College’s 50th Anniversary.