Donal O’Shea: New College is exceptional

Reposted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 by Paula Melo

Herald Tribune, March 29, 2016

Job training and higher education are related, but they are not identical. The distinction between the two was well understood by the founders of our republic, and the insistence on the distinction has made America’s higher educational system the envy of the world.

Central to higher education are the arts and sciences, which lie at the heart of our nation’s great research universities and liberal arts colleges. These are the programs that insist on disciplined thinking, curiosity, teamwork, critical judgment, and an understanding of basic principles of science, mathematics, social science and humanistic inquiry.

The graduates of such programs are highly prized in the workforce, and they occupy a disproportionate number of the leadership positions in the nation’s military, scientific, medical, legal, corporate, financial and political establishments.

New College of Florida exists to provide exceptionally talented students with a world-class education, a mission on which it delivers spectacularly. Over 70 percent of New College graduates will pursue further studies. Fifteen percent go on to receive Ph.D.’s, by far the highest proportion in the state university system (almost 10 times the next highest, and a hundred times the median). And that does not count other doctoral degrees, such as M.D.’s and J.D.’s, which are well represented among New College graduates.