Alumnus Jose Diaz-Balart, NBC News and Telemundo anchor

New College recently released a series of videos for its “More than Just a Number” campaign, highlighting alumni and students. Listen as they tell their stories about being Novo Collegians, and how New College has transformed their lives.

Alumnus Jose Diaz-Balart, an NBC News and Telemundo anchor:

“Seeing that I could create my own class schedule was incredible. But the decision to go to New College wasn’t just about flexibility; it was also about freedom—freedom of choices. There was a deep sense of personal responsibility at New College. Part of that learning experience was centered on studying source material over textbooks—the thinking that there is no textbook that could tell you about a subject better than the source and the subject itself. That was one of the most important lessons I learned that prepared me to be a journalist. The New College environment sparked critical thinking—critical thought—the freedom of thought. It’s an essential skill. And that’s also an essential aspect of what New College gives you—the student.” 

Alumnus Bill Dudley, former president/CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York:

“I started out going to Columbia my freshman year—an ivy league school—but it didn’t really suit me. Then I found New College, and that’s stood me in extraordinarily good stead. It taught me how to read and think critically. It helped me understand how to tackle new issues and problems creatively. And that broad education, I think, stood me in very good stead subsequently. I think New College is extraordinarily unique. It prepared me extraordinarily well for the world I faced during the great financial crisis. I don’t think I could have done the job I did in 2009 when I took over president of the New York Fed without a New College education.”

Agnes Bartha, current student and entrepreneur:

“I actually learned about New College from my father, who read in Forbes that there are a lot of CEOs that actually got their education from New College. And so he suggested I check it out and, 3½ years later, I can pretty confidently say that I am really glad I went there. Not only was I able to customize my classes (which I’m sure you’ve heard everywhere, because that’s one of the top things they talk about), but instead of learning just the small things that I wanted to learn, I also got to expand my horizons and learn about things that I didn’t even know existed. And so that was really cool, and on top of it, going into college I had no idea that I did not have the work ethic necessary in order to own my own business. Now I can confidently say, ‘Bring on the hurdles. I’m ready. I can jump over them. I can do it.’ So I’m really much more prepared for life now than I was 3½ years ago, and I owe that all to New College.”

Alumna Lynne Buchanan, photographer and writer:

“I have deep roots with New College of Florida. It has been part of my life since I was five years old, when my father left Yale to become one of the founding faculty members of the school. When I was a student, I saw firsthand what an amazing place New College was and the caliber of students it attracted. If you aren’t a self-starter when you arrive, you leave with the kind of work ethic that propels you forward in the real world. It ultimately led me to connect my passion for art and photography and protecting our environment. This sparked a lifelong interest in the environment, which motivated me to tell the story of climate change and water issues through my photography. The rigors of a New College education and the lifelong desire to learn you leave with enable you to face many challenges, and it sparks curiosity in ways I don’t think you get anywhere else.”

Alumnus Lincoln Diaz-Balart, United States Congressman:

“New College is academic rigor with freedom and diversity of thought—very rigorous studies, but students structure their course of study with their academic adviser, with a professor, and diversity of thought. Ever since I was student government president there, it’s characterized New College. I think respect for diversity of thought is more important now than ever.”

Watch all of the videos here


Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college and the state’s Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in arts, humanities and sciences, a master’s degree program in applied data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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