The Rotary Club of Sarasota and friends of the renowned American historical novelist John Jakes are establishing a scholarship in his honor for students at New College of Florida.
Every year, the John Jakes Endowed Writing Scholarship will support students whose studies focus on writing.
Don Bruns, a Sarasota writer and friend of Jakes and his family, said it both pays tribute to the best-selling writer and recognizes his appreciation of New College.
Jakes came to know New College through his admiration of another best-selling writer, John D. MacDonald, who was instrumental in the founding of New College and served on the board of the New College Foundation in the 1970s. MacDonald’s career and stories centered on Sarasota. MacDonald’s life and career inspired Jakes to move to Sarasota.
MaryAnne Young, executive director of the New College Foundation, said the College is honored to establish the Jakes Scholarship.
“Don Bruns met with me in November to discuss his idea of honoring Jakes. I was delighted as it is such a fitting tribute for a brilliant writer of our time and the history of New College,” Young said. “Writing is an essential element in all of New College’s academics; every senior is required to write a thesis. The Jakes Scholarship will bestow a particular honor and recognition on deserving students in perpetuity.”
New College seeks to create a $100,000 endowment for the Jakes Scholarship. The Rotary Club of Sarasota will match the first $10,000 in donations, and when the scholarship has reached the $100,000 level, an anonymous donor has offered to match it with an additional $100,000.
To learn more about the Jakes Scholarship, or to make a contribution, visit ncf.edu/jakes or call the New College Foundation at 941-487-4800.
At New College, writing is taught and evaluated in every aspect of the curriculum. It is a vital component in the academic and professional development of every New College student.
New College has produced many successful writers, journalists and entertainment producers, including Jose Diaz-Balart, national anchor for NBC News; Carol Flint, writer and producer for “The West Wing,” “ER” and “Royal Pains”; Jackson George, senior vice president for Disney Films; Jeanne Rosenberg, screenwriter of “The Black Stallion” and “Running Free”; and Alexis Simendinger, award-winning Washington political reporter.
Jakes is the author of 17 New York Times best-sellers, including the eight novels in his Kent Family Chronicles, published in the mid- to late1970s and known as the American Bicentennial Series. More than 55 million copies were sold, and three books, including “The Bastard,” “The Rebels” and “The Seekers,” were adapted into television mini-series.
Jakes also wrote the “North and South” trilogy, which sold 10 million copies and also was adapted into a miniseries. In all, he has written 60 novels and non-fiction works.
From 1989 to 1996, Jakes was a research fellow in the Department of History at the University of South Carolina. Jakes holds honorary doctorates from five universities, the most recent from Ohio State.
In 1995 he was recipient of a dual Celebrity and Citizen’s Award from the White House Conference on Libraries and Information, for speaking and writing on behalf of America’s public libraries.
In 1996, Jakes became the 10th inductee of the South Carolina Academy of Authors, and in 1997 he received the Professional Achievement Award of the Ohio State University Alumni Association.
In 1998 the South Carolina Humanities Association awarded him its highest honor, for Career Achievement and support of the humanities, and in 2002 he received the Cooper Medal, presented by the Thomas Cooper Library of the University of South Carolina. Previous recipients include Joseph Heller, John Updike, and Pat Conroy.